Chennai law college fracas: police commissioner transferred (Second Lead)

November 13th, 2008 - 11:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Nov 13 (IANS) The Tamil Nadu government Thursday evening transferred city Police Commissioner R. Sekar following Wednesday’s violence at the law college in which three students were seriously injured while the police allegedly remained mute spectators. K. Radhakrishnan, Additional Director General of Police, Criminal Investigation Department and Civil Supplies, has been posted in place of Sekar, who has taken up his post in turn. Abhay Kumar Singh, a Joint Commissioner of Police, has also been transferred, an official statement said.

The state administration also beefed up the police set-up in the city by posting senior Indian Police Service officer A.K. Vishwanathan as the Additional Commissioner of Police.

“I have been transferred and do not want to say anything more,” Sekar told IANS.

The new officials are expected to take charge Friday, police sources added.

The announcements came as students across the state held demonstrations and pelted stones at government property to protest alleged police inaction during Wednesday’s clash between students of the Dr. Ambedkar Law College.

The violent protest by law college students across the state led to examinations being postponed and indefinite closure of several hostels, officials said.

The Madras High Court Thursday ordered the Tamil Nadu government to file a detailed report before Tuesday on Wednesday’s clash.

Hearing a public suit filed by PMK lawyer V. Balu, a bench comprising Chief Justice A.K. Ganguly and Ibrahim Khalifullah posed questions about the apparent lawlessness that prevailed on the campus.

Appearing for the state government, advocate Raja Khalifullah informed the court about the police officials suspended and transferred on charges of dereliction of duty, and said the situation was under control.

Before being transferred, Joint Commissioner of Police Abhay Kumar Singh announced the suspension of nine policemen, including Assistant Commissioner Narayan Murthy, and the transfer of six others.

In Chennai, a mob set fire to a government bus in the northwestern suburbs. Ten people were remanded in judicial custody for the violence, police said.

Over 60 students were arrested in Coimbatore, 500 km southwest of here, for indulging in violent acts in the law college there, Deputy Inspector General of Police P. Sivanandi told reporters. The students were, however, let off in the evening, he added.

Several law colleges were declared closed till further notice to contain the statewide unrest by agitated students who attacked educational institutions and government property, sources said.

On Wednesday, students of the Dr. Ambedkar Law College had fought pitched battles over the contents of an invitation for a political event, attacking each other with sticks and iron rods. The three students injured in the clashes are in hospital in a serious condition.

In the state assembly, Law Minister Durai Murugan Thursday announced the suspension of the college principal K.K.Sridev and a probe into the incident by P. Shanmugham, a retired judge of the Madras High Court.

Eyewitnesses said police officials had remained mute spectators and failed to control the violence. The college and its hostel would remain closed till further notice, he said.

He said seven students had been detained and more arrests would follow.

One of the injured students is on life support, hospital sources said.

Opposition parties slammed the police for being “mute spectators as students set upon each other murderously”.

While opposition leader J. Jayalalitha expressed shock at the inaction, Communist Party of India (CPI) state secretary D. Pandian termed the violence “barbaric” and the “unwillingness on the part of the police - a sad despicable state of affairs”.

Opposition AIADMK legislators were expelled en masse from the house by Speaker Auvudaiyappan when they repeatedly shouted slogans against the government’s “failure to tackle lawlessness in the state”. MDMK legislators staged a walkout in support.

Many opposition leaders demanded the resignation of Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, who is in charge of the home portfolio.

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