New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a case against Tamil Nadu Police and revenue department officials over the firing incident during the anti-Sterlite protests that killed around 13 people. According to the FIR accessed by MyNation, the CBI will probe all aspects as ordered by the Chennai high court. The investigating agency has quoted the court's order.

The court had said, "The CBI shall register a case or cases on the complaints received against officials or the police in respect of occurrences at Tuticorin on May 22 and initiate an investigation thereon. The CBI shall not be restricted to consider only issues which have been highlighted above. In other words, it will be the duty of the CBI to get to the bottom of things and file such charge sheet/charge sheets, as the investigation revealed and necessitates."

"The action mentioned above shall be completed within a period of four months of the receipt of this order. Towards such end, the director of the Central Bureau of Investigation, New Delhi is directed to appoint a special team for the investigation," the court ordered.

As per the order, the CBI filed a case in the Chennai unit, which relates to the police firing on the protestors of Sterlite Industries on May 22-23, that resulted in the death of 13 people. The case has been registered under Section 120-B,166 167, 392, 395, 506 (ii) IPC and Section 34 of IPC against various unknown persons and public servants from police and revenue departments.

What is the controversy?

Locals had been protesting against Sterlite’s copper smelting unit in Thoothukudi, asking it to shut down as it was spreading poisonous gases into the air, causing environmental damage. The company has already been facing accusations for violating environmental regulations. The fresh protest triggered after the company allegedly continued expansion, despite no approval.

What happened on May 22-23?

A protest was called by the locals and during a rally on May 22 against Sterlite, violence broke out when protesters moved up to an intersection on Palayamkottai Road. As the cops had already imposed prohibitory orders and permission to protest was denied by the police, protesters allegedly hurled stones at the policemen. In retaliation, the police also fired on the crowd. A total of 13 people including a 17-year-old girl were killed in police firing.

Role of Christian NGOs in Sterlite protest

One of the two key players behind the protests - Mohan C Lazarus – is a fundamentalist Christian evangelist with political weight. When the protests gathered momentum, traders were forced to down shutters on orders from churches in Tuticorin. Lazarus approached priests in churches, following which they asked traders of their community to go ahead with the shutdown plan.