This report contains details gathered by a ‘high-level’ fact-finding team on the pro-Jallikattu protests and the violence unleashed by the police against the protesters and bystanders. We, at People’s Watch, launched a high-level public inquest into allegations by several news reports that the Tamil Nadu police used brutal force against pro-Jallikattu protesters in Chennai, Coimbatore, Alanganallur, Avaniapuram and Sellur. Tamil Nadu witnessed several such protests from the 15th to the 22nd of January. What started off as a peaceful protest, turned violent on the 23rd of January, as police tried to forcefully disperse the crowds gathered.
In view of these allegations, the National Human Rights Commission had issued a suo moto notice to the Tamil Nadu government asking it to present a detailed report on the human rights violations at Marina Beach where several protesters were mercilessly beaten and tortured by police officials. People’s Watch had requested the National Human Rights Commission to also take cognisance of police atrocities in several other districts across the state. In order to render support to the National Human Rights Commission, we, at People’s Watch conducted a public inquest into the several cases of police violence against pro-Jallikattu protesters.
Dr.Vasanthi Devi, Advocate Sudha Ramalingam, Advocate Ajeetha, Comrade Thiyagu, Prof. Manivanan, Prof. Ravindran, Prof. Gladstone Xavier and Advocate Britto, with the help of the People’s Watch staff members, conducted a fact-finding into several allegations.
The team, along with the monitoring unit of People’s Watch, categorised and documented news reports on the pro-Jallikattu protests which started on the 14th of January and continued peacefully till the 23rd of January. Almost all the material available on social media networks and television news channels were also collected as a part of this effort. Our teams also visited several victims and recorded their statements on the ground.
People’s Watch would also like to put on record that Chennai’s Police Commissioner, S. George, refused to meet our fact-finding team. However, we did manage to meet Joint Commissioner of Police, S.N. Seshasai and the Deputy Commissioner, V. Balakrishnan.