Rajinikanth says he has no evidence to show anti-social elements caused Sterlite violence

Rajinikanth says he has no evidence to show anti-social elements caused Sterlite violence
Superstar Rajinikanth said that he has no evidence to substantiate his allegations that anti-social elements instigated the violence during the anti-Sterlite protests in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi in 2018, which left 13 people dead. Actor Rajinikanth said this in a signed affidavit submitted to the Justice Aruna Jegadeesan commission, the single-judge commission that is probing the police firing on 13 civilians. Rajinikanth, who had visited the injured at the time, had remarked then that “anti-social elements and toxic germs had infiltrated” the anti-Sterlite agitation. Rajinikanth had even claimed that he had evidence to prove his allegations. Vadivel Murugan, the counsel for the retired Justice Aruna Jagadeesan probe committee, told TNM that Rajinikanth has submitted replies to a questionnaire given to him. "He has made the statement during the press meet, which was not a planned one. He answered questions when the media asked him. He also said that he has no proof to substantiate his charge that anti-social elements had indulged in violence during the anti-Sterlite protests," he said. Rajinikanth also said in the affidavit that he made the statement keeping in mind the welfare of the people. Vadivel Murugan also said that the probe committee wants to seek certain clarifications from Rajinikanth, but it will be done after the pandemic. Rajinikanth was issued two summons — February 2020 and December 2020 — in the case but failed to turn up. The first time, he claimed it would cause inconvenience to the public. Then, he failed to appear before the commission on January 21, 2021, citing health issues. The actor, who was supposed to launch his political party early this year, decided to pull out, citing health reasons, including blood-related issues. However, his counsel Ilambharathi had reportedly filed an affidavit, stating that Rajinikanth would appear before the panel via videoconferencing. Pointing out that most trials are being carried out via videoconferencing in view of the pandemic, his counsel added that if Rajinikanth's request is admitted, he could be questioned through video, after two or three months. On May 22, 2018 — the 100th day of the anti-Sterlite protest over the pollution caused by the Sterlite copper smelter — as protesters started marching in defiance of the restriction imposed in the area, the Thoothukudi police fired into the thousands-strong gathering. The firing resulted in the death of 13 civilans. Over hundred persons were grievously injured.

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