Mr. Jagannathan (52), was a member of the Environment Protection Movement and member of the anti-illegal quarrying movement in Karur district which works to safeguard the environment and livelihood of people at Karur district working under the coordination of an HRD Mr. Shamugam who is a very active HRD in the district and associated with Human Right Defenders Alert.
We sent an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission over the brutal attack and murder on the environment rights activist Mr. Jeganathan under the guise of a road accident for effectively speaking up against an illegal stone quarry and successfully getting it sealed since it was leading to environmental degradation in Kuppam village of Bukalur taluk in Karur district.
On September 10, 2022, Mr. Jeganathan was returning home in a two-wheeler near Kalipalayam where Selvakumar, the owner of the illegal quarry who was very angry about the closure of illegal quarrying on 8th September, 2022 based on the HRD Jeganathan’s complaint rammed his mini lorry into Mr. Jeganathan. He was killed on the spot.
In the immediate aftermath a group of social activists demanded that the police treat this incident as a murder. They demanded a detailed investigation and another post mortem investigation be conducted by a team of forensic experts drawn from different Medical college hospitals from the neighbouring districts. The peaceful protestors were illegally arrested on the morning of September 12. HRDA conducted its own fact-finding into the murder on September 17, 2022.
We urged the Hon’ble Commission to direct the Director General of Police of Tamil Nadu to initiate a speedy inquiry in pursuing the present case by transferring it to the Crime Branch CID. We also urged the Hon’ble Commission to consider exercising Section 12 (b) of the Protection of Human Rights Act and intervene in the relevant criminal court to defend the environmental HRD Jeganathan by arranging for expert legal assistance by engaging a senior criminal lawyer to assist the prosecution from the time of investigation of this case onwards till the final report is filed and trial completed and obtain for the family of the deceased HRD and his family members and other witnesses proper witness protection as mandated under the Witness Protection Scheme 2018.