The CBI has registered cases against people from 20 organizations for rioting, attempt to murder, attack on public servants and damage to property during the anti-Sterlite protests in Tamil Nadu. The case registered on Monday by the CBI is against the leaders and workers of organizations like Thoothukudi Vyabarigal Sangam, the fishermen sangam, and the Veeranganai group which were part of the protests which left 13 people dead. With the passage of time shocking revelations about the protests being staged have come out at regular intervals from Tamil Nadu. In July, after just a few weeks of the protests, the fishermen from Therespuram in Thoothukudi had claimed that they had nothing to do with violence which broke out on 22nd May and the fishermen had further submitted a petition to the district legal services authority accusing advocates belonging to a left group, Makkal Adhikaram to have instigated some innocent youths. The locals had also demanded reopening of the Sterlite plant. The CBI has registered cases against people from all such organizations which were found to be involved in one way or other in instigating the mob to violence on the fateful day.
The original FIR in this case was filed by the inspector of the Sipcot police station in Tuticorin, the case was then handed over to the CBI by the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court on August 14th. The original FIR filed had mentioned that several groups belonging to the leftist sections of the society had decided to hold protest at the DCs office demanding the closure of Sterlite copper factory. The leaders of these left dominated groups had moved the mobs to begin vandalism and create a ruckus on the day of the protests, slogans were also raised to urge the mob to torch the collector office. Police had first used teargas to disperse the mob failing which the police personnel had to resort to opening fire which resulted in the death of the 13 protesters. The division bench of Justices C T Selvam and Basheer Ahmed had raised doubts over the efficiency of the investigating agencies of the state to solve the case and thus handed over the case to CBI. The bench said, “It can hardly be expected that any investigation either into the wrong doings of the protesters or of the police or administration would inspire confidence if entrusted to agencies of this state.”
The anti-Sterlite protesters had themselves claimed the involvement of left wing groups in instigating the mobs and starting the riots. The locals had begun taking names of people such as Mahesh, who had allegedly benefitted in upwards of Rs 50 lakhs for organizing the protests. The locals had come out in front of the media at the where the National Green Tribunal (NGT) panel consisting of three members was listening to public responses related to the closure of the plant.
It was also found that the church had been involved in organizing protests in the state. Swarajya Magazine had earlier reported that the churches in the region had appealed to its members to support the sterlite protest. The magazine had also reported that one of the mobs, comprising of around 5,000 people, had gathered in front of one of the churches in the region before it proceeded to wreak havoc. The article goes on to claim that according to the Intelligence Bureau, there were Naxal elements among the protestors too and that the police had been tipped off about this. The presence of church and leftist organizations in the protests suggest a far more nefarious agenda than the one which was portrayed in the media. It is increasingly becoming clear that the left wing organizations and the church wanted to fulfill their own agendas rather than helping the farmers or other communities affected by the Sterlite plant.