Protestors protesting against government-run liquor outlets
HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on 15th June regarding the repression by brutal beating, threat, and intimidation on protestors protesting against government-run liquor outlets, by the police of Tripura.
A TASMAC shop which was on a national highway was shut down on the basis of the recent Supreme Court judgment. The TASMAC shop was then relocated in Samalapuram village road amidst a completely residential area. The residents of the area where the TASMAC shop had been relocated lodged a formal petition with the government authorities and did not get any response. Hence, people staged a protest against the opening of the TASMAC shop. This protest went on peacefully till 4:30 PM when a local Member of the Legislative Assembly(MLA), Mr. Kanakaraj, who had taken part in the protest since 1 PM was safely escorted away by the police in a car. Once the MLA was escorted out of the protest, the local ADSP, Mr. Pandiarajan took charge and immediately ordered the police personnel present to use brutal force to disperse the non-violent protestors resulting in sustaining injuries for several of them. Further it is learnt that, on April 13, 2017, an all women five-member fact finding team constituted by the People’s Watch, led by Ms. Priya, Associate Program
Coordinator at People’s Watch, visited the victims, perpetrators, officials and recorded their statements and collected related documents about the incident and some findings of the report are as follows:
1. The protest was peaceful from 10 AM to 4:30 PM and was never declared an unlawful assembly by either the Executive Magistrate present at the venue just before the police excess was committed or any other official.
2. Only two women police were deputed to control a protest that consisted of more than 170 women protesters.
3. Police ensured that they escorted MLA Mr. Kanakaraj to safety before launching their pre-meditated and planned brutal attack on the protesters.
4. Police have threatened the victims and warned against filing complaints in connection with the incident.
5. No medical assistance was provided by the police to the injured protesters as required under law.
6. Complete violations of the Code of Conduct for law enforcement officials and the UN guidelines on the use of force and firearms were found.
HRDA prayed for thorough investigation and to take immediate actions on the perpetrators of the case.