They say “Be the change, you wish to see”. But in today’s society, if you be the change, chances are, you may lose your life. In that regard, 7 activists in Tamil Nadu who tried to speak for the environmental protection, have been brutally murdered and even after their demises, there seems to be no way to justice.
In July this year, the Madras High Court was giving the verdict on one such case and highlighted the poor investigation by the police. Thanickachalam, a 60-year-old activist from the Vellore district had been murdered in November 2014. He is one of the activists who fought for the removal of encroachments from a water channel that could meet the needs of 21 villages. The fellow activists and his family alleged that the encroachers were responsible for the murder. However, the police only filed a case against a local ‘hitman’ named Logananthan.
“We gave a complaint against 7 people in encroachment case in Ambur Police Station. But officers behaved in favour of the encroachers from the very beginning…They told us to come the next day and we found that they had only arrested and filed an FIR only against Loganathan,” says Ramesh, who had been fighting alongside Thanickachalam to clear the encroachments. He said that no action was taken against the rest six. So they approached the High Court asking for a CBCID probe in 2015.
In court, Justice Anand Venkatesan said that the respondent police had focused upon only one accused person, who is already a history-sheeter, and conveniently filed a final report by showing him as the accused person. He added that other names have been dropped from the final report. The case was shifted to CB CID and Thanickachalam’s family believe that justice will arrive. “But we do not know who will clear this water channel now,” says Ramesh.
On the other hand, another activist who fought against sand mining left without any support. He was murdered in 2012, when he tried to stop illegal sand-mining at his village, Mittatharkulam. The truck carrying the sand, allegedly owned by an AIADMK functionary, ran over him. The family of this late 21-years-old man still waits for justice.
“This government never asked us anything about how my son died. I have gone from one court to another – Valliyoor, Naguneri and Tirunelveli. I have got no justice at all,” says his father Eshter. “No one (authorities) has asked how he died. I don’t know why courts exist. Is it only for the rich? Or for the poor also? Is it for politicians? Even the police..they give importance to the perpetrators. They take the money and speak in support of them. We don’t have money, we give up our lives and feel defeated,” he adds.
News Courtesy: The News Minute