June 19, 2018
The Madurai Bench dismissed the anticipatory bail petitions filed by two advocates, accused of instigating violence during the protest against Sterlite in Thoothukudi on May 22.
The court noted that the petitioners, being organisers of the protest, should not shy away from responsibilities and face police interrogation.
The petitioners – S Vanchinathan and K Hariraghavan, advocates and members of People’s Rights Protection Centre who were apprehending arrests contended that they did not indulge in any kind of violence and that they were present at the spot only to provide legal assistance to the protesters by facilitating talks with the government authorities.
However, the Additional Advocate General (AAG) Chellapandian who appeared on behalf of the State opposed granting advance bail and contended that the petitioners had violated the prohibitory order and also instigated the protesters.
Urgent Information from Advocate V Suresh. General Secretary, PEOPLE’S UNION FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES.
Information has just been received that Adv. Vanchinathan of Madurai who has been counsel for many cases filed on behalf of Thoothukudi citizens and anti Sterlite protest groups, has been arrested at 01.00 am today by Chennai police. This is a direct assault on lawyers practicing in the human rights field and should be strongly opposed. The TN government and the police are trying to silence all democratic forces and produce a chilling effect to scare other lawyers from appearing in sensitive cases challenging undemocratic and anti-constitutional policies and actions of the government.
Advocate Vanchi nathan was arrested in Chennai Airport for Tutucorin incident in Crime no. 190 of 2018 Sipcot Police station u/sec 147, 148, 188, 353, 506 (2) and sec. 3 TNPPDL Act. He is the State Co-ordinator of People’s Right Protection Center and practicing law at Madurai Bench of Madras High Court at Madurai. It is the cowardice act of Tamil Nadu government killing the innocent unarmed people of thoothukudi and putting blame on public spirited activist who helped the people of thoothukudi legally and morally.
(Facebook, June 21, 2018)
Release People’s Advocate Vanchit Nathan immediately and unconditionally!
CONDEMN THE ARREST OF ADVOCATE VANCHINATHAN BY THE CHENNAI POLICE!
CONDEMN THE REPRESSION LEASHED ON THE ANTI-STERLITE PROTESTORS!
21st June 2018
The Indian Association of People’s lawyers (IAPL) condemns the arrest of Advocate Vanchinathan by the Chennai police in the early hours of Thursday, 21 June 2018. Following the brutal police crackdown in Tuticorin on people protesting against Sterlite Copper Smelter Plant in which 13 people were shot dead, Tamilnadu Police has continued the crackdown on various people who have been associated with the protests against Sterlite Copper. This includes lawyers who helped with filing various cases against Sterlite. The authoritarian and coldly calculated actions of the Tamilnadu government to break down anti-Sterlite protests and smother the voice of people are highly condemnable and is unfitting for any civilised democratic polity.
Advocate Vanchinathan has been the counsel for many cases filed against Sterlite by the people of Tuticorin and Sterlite protest groups. Advocate Vanchinathan was arrested in Chennai Airport for the Tuticorin incident in Crime no. 190 of 2018 Sipcot Police Station under sections 147, 148, 188, 353, 506(2) and Sec. 3 TNPPDL Act. He is the State Co-ordinator of Makkal Urimai Paadhugaapu Maiyam (People’s Right Protection Centre) and a practicing lawyer at Madurai Bench of Madras High Court at Madurai.
After shooting dead unarmed civilians in cold blood, the Tamilnadu Government has gone a step further and is now putting the blame for the incidents of 21st May on public spirited lawyers who came to the legal aid of people of Tuticorin. It is important to note that the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court had initially directed the police to refrain from arresting Advocates Vanchinathan and Hari Raghavan till the hearing of their anticipatory bail application and demanded that the Police produce material evidence that the two ‘engineered’ the violence. Vanchinathan and other lawyers were present in Tuticorin on the day to provide legal assistance and to facilitate talks with Government representatives. However on June 18th, the court dismissed the anticipatory bail filed by Vanchinathan and Hari Raghavan, merely stating that they cannot avoid interrogation.
All over India – in Bhangor (WB), Tuticorin (TN), Jagatsinghpur (Odisha), Raigarh (Chhattisgarh), Sanand (Gujarat), Singbhum (Jharkhand) or Gadchiroli (Maharashtra) – affected people and activists protesting against corporate land grab and environmental devastation are being attacked, implicated in false cases, and arrested under draconian laws. The latest trend in this is to attack the people’s lawyers who are trying to fight corporates whether as labour lawyers, environmental lawyers or lawyers challenging land acquisition and denial of tribal rights.
The arrest of Vanchinathan and continued intimidation of other lawyers by Tamilnadu police who helped file cases against Sterlite is vindictive, cowardly and an indefensible act. These arrests are intended to produce a chilling effect to scare other lawyers from appearing in sensitive cases challenging undemocratic and anti-constitutional policies and actions of the government. IAPL unequivocally condemns the arrests of Vanchinathan and demands for his immediate release.
Adv. Sudha Bharadwaj, Vice-President, IAPL
Adv. D. SureshKumar, Joint Secretary, IAPL