Published: 18th July 2022
Kallakurichi violence: Section 144 imposed till July 31 over death of a 17-year-old student
DGP C Sylendra Babu appealed to the people to maintain calm and warned against resorting to violence. Strict action would be taken against those indulging in violence
Hundreds of youth and villagers gathered before a private residential school in Kaniyamoor near Chinnasalem on July 17 morning, demanding justice for the death of a Class XII girl student.
It turned into a riot-like situation with the protestors damaging vehicles belonging to the police and the school. Buses parked inside the institution's premises were set on fire. Stones were pelted on police personnel. Some of them set ablaze a police bus as well.
Following the violent protests, Kallakurichi district collector PN Sridhar has issued restraining orders under Section 144 till July 31 in Kallakurichi taluk, and across some parts of Chinnasalem taluk. "Smoke was seen coming from inside the school as some of the furniture in the school was set on fire," according to an eyewitness.
As the rioters had blocked the entry of vehicles on the road leading to the school, even pelting stones at the approaching vehicles, the fire service personnel who were called couldn't reach the spot soon, the eyewitness added.
More than twenty police personnel sustained injuries in the riot. They were administered treatment on the spot. Some were taken to nearby hospitals as they needed further treatment, according to a police source.
Additional police forces were called in from Villupuram, Cuddalore, and Salem districts to control the riots. Rioters reportedly pelted stones on them, too.
A police force headed by DIG (Villupuram Range) M Pandian, Kallakurichi SP Selvakumar, and Villupuram SP N Shreenatha were deployed, too, to bring the situation under control.
DGP C Sylendra Babu appealed to the people to maintain calm and warned against resorting to violence. Strict action would be taken against those indulging in violence, he told reporters in Chennai. Chief Minister MK Stalin expressed his regret regarding the situation in Kallakurichi on Twitter.
Assuring punishment for those involved in the girl's death, he also informed that he had ordered the Home Secretary and the DGP to go to the site of the riots. The public must maintain peace, by trusting in the Government's action, he urged.
How it unfolded
On July 13 early morning, a 17-year-old girl who belongs to Periyanesalur village in Cuddalore district was found dead on the premises of the school hostel. The school is located at Kaniyamoor near Chinnasalem in Kallakurichi district. The student was staying at the hostel.
The girl, an inmate of a room on the third floor of the hostel was suspected to have ended her life by jumping to the ground from the top floor. A postmortem report reportedly indicated that she had sustained injuries before her death. Police registered a case and a probe is on.
The deceased student's family members and people from their village have continuously been involved in protests outside the school and the Government Hospital in Kallakurichi.
Her body has been kept at the hospital after the completion of autopsy as her family members have been refusing to take the body in protest, wanting to see the arrest of the persons responsible for the girl's death. Their demands have the support of a political outfit and the youth wing of a Left party.
Meanwhile, on July 16 evening, after the release of her autopsy report, her family members staged a protest at Four Roads Junction, rejecting the report. The autopsy report of the Class XII girl revealed signs of a haemorrhage, and shock due to multiple injuries sustained. While the final opinion on the pending chemical analysis report is pending, relatives deemed the report fake.
The demands of the girl's kin include a CB-CID probe and the arrest of those responsible for the girl's death.
Police persons removed them from the site forcibly as they refused to end their protest despite SP S Selvakumar meeting them and assuring appropriate action against the perpetrators. Later, speaking to media persons at Kallakurichi, SP S Selvakumar said, "We are investigating all suspected angles. Every suspect will be brought under inquiry."
Regarding the blood stains found on the school walls, the SP said that those stains had been there even before the death of the girl. Nevertheless, samples of those stains were collected and have been sent for testing.
CCTV footage recorded from the school premises has been safely kept, the SP said. An inquiry is also underway to confirm the credibility of a letter written by the girl, he added.