Several clippings and videos unrelated to the Kallakurichi violence are being circulated as news. Terming this situation to be grave, the SP of Kallakurichi warned of stringent action against those who spread wrong information related to the case.
The police’s statement comes after a CCTV footage from Salem surfaced and several social media posts wrongly attributing it to the alleged suicide of a 17-year old in the district, 250 kms south of state capital Chennai.
CCTV Footage Unrelated Kallakurichi Violence Wrongly Spread as News
A video not related to the violence in Kallakurichi was being circulated on social media platforms. The video, on police examination, turned out to be a CCTV footage from Salem. Speaking to reporters in Kallakurichi, the police confirmed that the video was related to a theft of a laptop in a government school in Salem’s Vazhapadi.
Reacting to the incident, the SP of Kallakurichi, S Selvakumar said, “Strictest action will be taken against those individuals and groups trying to spread fake information. Rumour mongering and circulating unverified videos as news related to Kallakurichi incident will be dealt with stringent punishment.”
Believing the spreading of fake news to be one of the reasons for the violence that broke out on 17 July, the police issued a warning and said that those involved will have to face consequences.
Police Arrest Four Youths For Social Media Posts over Kallakurichi Violence
Over 180 km away from the violence affected Kallakurichi, police arrested four youths, who had posted comments on social media concerning the death of Kallakurichi schoolgirl.
The arrested persons Surendran S, Siva, Shankar, and Tamilarasan are allegedly the members of Democratic Youth Federation of India, CPI(M)'s youth outfit. However, the four activists have been granted conditional bail after the sessions court heard the matter.
According to the Karur police, the youths posted comments asking people to gather at the school site and hold violent protests, despite section 144 being in place.
The police who nabbed the four activists immediately after the post went viral have charged them under three sections of the Indian Penal Code—section 120A (criminal conspiracy), section 121A (conspiracy against the government) and sections 153 and 505 (incitement to riot).
Committee to Find Out Who Instigated Riots: Minister AV Velu
Senior DMK leader and Minister for Public Works in the state, AV Velu visited the violence affected areas in Kallakurichi on 18 July, 2022. After examining the situation along with education minister Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi, the minister said that a committee will be formed to find out who instigated the Kallakurichi violence.
Speaking to reporters at Kallakurichi, Minister AV Velu said, “Students have engaged in violence in the name of protest through WhatsApp groups. The violence was caused by misinformation spread on social media.”
Apart from announcing that the committee will look into the reasons for violence, the minister appealed to the parents and requested that the schools be reopened across the district. The minister also met with the police personnel who were hurt during the violent protests and thanked them for their efforts in maintaining order.
“The purpose of the police was to save the students who were staying in the hostel and in the school. Everyone has the right to fight for justice in a democratic manner. But, the violence which was caused by spreading of misinformation on social media is unpardonable,” he added.
The violence that started on 17 July, and lasted for over 6 hours left more than 40 people injured. The violent protesters also torched 67 vehicles, including a school bus. The mob also indulged in arson and vandalism damaging the entire school premises.
So far, 329 have been arrested, of which 128 have been produced before the court, 20 have been shifted to the Cuddalore juvenile home and rest will be heard by the court on 29 July. On examining digital and physical evidence, the police have filed charges as per Sections 147 (extra illegal), 148 (extra with weapons) and 294b (obscene).