Rajinikanth Summoned Over Remarks During Sterlite Firing Probe

The actor had claimed he would reveal details at the right place about the alleged ‘anti-social infiltrators’

2 min read
Actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth. 

Superstar turned politician Rajinikanth has been summoned in January by a single-judge commission led by retired judge Aruna Jagadeesan, for his remarks over the 2018 violence at Sterlite factory in Thoothukudi.

"The attack on the collector's office and setting on fire (Sterlite) quarters was not done by the common people. Some anti-social elements infiltrated... (the protesting locals). It is their handiwork," he had said according to PTI.

The actor had apologised for his remarks after his words had stirred up a controversy in Tamil Nadu.

The actor – who has been planning to launch his party in January to contest the 2021 Tamil Nadu Assembly elections – has been summoned for his comments during the agitation, where protesters demanded the closure of Sterlite Industries over alleged pollution issues. 

The violence resulted in the death of 13 persons, and the police has been criticised for using force to quell the mob.

Rajinikanth Had Alleged He Knew Who The ‘Anti-Social Infiltrators’ Were

The actor had said in 2018 that he was aware of the people behind the alleged ‘infiltration’ but will only reveal details at the right place. The judicial panel probing the incident has now summoned Rajinikanth to seek clarifications about these ‘anti-social elements,’ according to NDTV.

The commission had earlier summoned the actor on 25 February 2020, but the superstar declined from appearing citing that his appearance will cause public inconvenience due to COVID-19, reported The News Minute. The investigations of the committee had come to a halt due to the global pandemic.

The counsel for the commission, Arul Vadivel, told the media that the actor will be summoned in January during the 24th sitting of the commission. The advocate for the actor, Ilambarathi, said the actor will respond to the questions of the judicial commission, according to The News Minute.

In the 23 sittings of the judiciary commission, a total number of 586 witnesses have testified, and 775 documents have been marked so far, according to The Times of India. The witnesses were primarily firefighters and police personnel.

What Happened During the Sterlite Firing Incident?

The Tamil Nadu Police has been accused of open firing on protestors in Thoothukudi on 21-22 May 2018, who were demanding the permanent closure of Vedanta group’s Sterlite Copper smelting plant over issues of allegedly polluting the district.

The violent clash led to the death of thirteen persons. The police have since claimed that they retorted to firing because the collector’s office was under threat.

The incident received heavy criticism from the public who alleged the police attacked protesters and torched vehicles to create an open-fire situation, according to NDTV. The opposition also lodged outrage at the police action, demanding an impartial probe into the matter, reported India Today.

(With inputs from NDTV, India Today, Times Of India, The News Minute and PTI)

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