Shoot-at-sight orders in Tamil Nadu to stop violence (Lead)

February 21st, 2009 - 6:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Feb 21 (IANS) Police in Tamil Nadu were Saturday given shoot-at-sight orders to tackle unruly mobs and quell the violence that has broken out in support of the Sri Lankan Tamils, even as the state high court was turned into a fortress with heavy security cover following three days of clashes between lawyers and police.
Madras High Court employees told reporters they were denied entry by police guards and were allowed inside only after their superiors intervened.

“I was allowed inside after a four-hour wait at the gates and I have to prepare the cause-list for Monday,” a woman told reporters outside the court.

Director General of Police K.P. Jain gave the shoot-at-sight orders Saturday. There were few reports of violence from the state.

Chief Minister K. Karunanidhi, reading from a prepared text in his hospital bed Friday night, alleged that the violent incidents during the last three days were part of “an opposition conspiracy to destabilise the government”.

“Despite these provocative conspiracies to destabilise our government, we will continue to serve the masses in Tamil Nadu,” Karunanidhi said.

Cases were registered against over 300 lawyers who had burnt vehicles and damaged property while demanding action against “police excesses” since Thursday.

Meanwhile, eight police superintendents and a joint commissioner here were transferred with immediate effect, an official press statement said. No reason was given for the move.

During the past three days, the high court premises had been tense after lawyers protesting against the central and state governments’ alleged inaction in the Sri Lankan Tamil tangle clashed with the police.

Over 200 lawyers were arrested Friday.

Meanwhile, movie director Seeman, who was remanded in judicial custody for 14 days for allegedly inciting secessionist violence, told reporters that he had never said anything “against India’s unity and integrity”. He was taken to the central prison in the neighbouring union territory of Puducherry.

“I am not against India’s unity and integrity and have never uttered a word against them. My only worry is for the suffering Tamils in Sri Lanka,” Seeman told reporters.

Seeman was brought to Puducherry from Tirunelveli, where he was arrested late Friday.

Law students belonging to the PDK tried to stage demonstrations outside the residence of a Puducherry judge who heard the matter against Seeman. The students were chased away, police said.

In Cuddalore, 30 km south of Puducherry, mourners returning from Friday’s funeral of a person who set himself ablaze in support of the Sri Lankan Tamils turned violent and attacked public and private establishments and vehicles. The situation has returned to normal, police said.

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