Law college students protest police inaction, court asks for report (Lead)

November 13th, 2008 - 9:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Nov 13 (IANS) Law college students across Tamil Nadu held demonstrations and pelted stones on government property Thursday to protest alleged police inaction during a clash between students in the city law college that left three students seriously injured. The high court has ordered the state government to file a detailed report on the incident by Tuesday.The violent protest by law college students across the state led to examinations being postponed for three days, officials said.

The Madras High Court Thursday ordered the Tamil Nadu government to file a detailed report before Tuesday on a clash on the campus between students of the Dr. Ambedkar Law College, Chennai.

Hearing a writ petition filed in public interest by a PMK lawyer V. Balu, the 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.

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

The repercussions of Wednesday’s violence and the alleged police inaction saw violent protests in various parts of Tamil Nadu.

In Chennai, a mob set fire to a government bus in the northwestern suburbs here as protest. 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 Dr. Ambedkar Law University in Chennai 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 in which three students were injured.

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.

“Breakdown of law and order in the face of a stunned police force manacled by political interference has become a regular feature during DMK rule,” political commentator Cho S. Ramaswamy said.

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