Political parties and civil rights organisations staged a demonstration on Saturday in Valluvar Kottam in Chennai demanding that the state government fast track the enquiry into the missing case of environmental activist S Mugilan. He has been missing for more than hundred days after a press meet in which he released a report and video that showed the involvement of senior police officers in the firing against anti-Sterlite activists in Thoothukudi.
The case was transferred to CD-CID wing of the Tamil Nadu police, but no progress has been made so far. The department claimed that 17 special teams had been formed with Deputy Superintendents of Police as the team heads. The special investigation team submitted in the court that it had questioned around 251 people related to Mugilan beyond analysing phone calls and messages sent from his mobile phone.
Civil right activists expressed fear for his life and believe Muligan’s protest against the Sterlite smelter plant of the Vedanta group and the proof that he released against senior police officers, could be the reason for his disappearance. Meanwhile, a case has been filed against the activist alleging cheating and rape in April based on a complaint lodged by a woman from Namakkal. His associates and family members insist that the complaint is false and is part of a conspiracy.
On February 15, 2019, Mugilan released “incriminating evidence of the involvement” of senior police officers in the cadre of Inspector General of Police (IG) and Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) who were “orchestrating the firing” which resulted in the killing of 13 anti-Sterlite protestors.
In the press conference, Mugilan said: “We accuse directly. South zone IG Sailesh Kumar Yadav and Tirunelveli range DIG Kapil Kumar Saratkar colluded with management of Sterlite and committed the murder. We are saying they must be arrested for murder”.
The same day, Mugilan went missing after boarding a train from Chennai to Madurai. With a number of struggles across the state, the missing of activist Mugilan has send shock waves among the general public and civil right activists. The state and the country are becoming unsafe for protestors raising genuine issues affecting the public, they feel.
R Nallakannu, senior leader of the Communist Party of India led the protest. G Ramakrishnan, Polit Bureau member of Communist Party of India (Marxist), Mallai Sathya, Deputy General Secretary of Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Kolathur Mani, leader of the Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam, Henri Tiphagne, Director of People’s Watch and many others participated in the protest.