What Sparked Police Excesses In Chennai? New Video From Ground Zero

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January 25, 2017

Chennai, TAMIL NADU: A frenzied crowd on rampage, booing, catcalling and shrieking, setting fire to bikes and a vehicle outside the Ice House Police station – the closest to Chennai's Marina beach, where the protest against Jallikattu was being held.

January 25, 2017

Chennai, TAMIL NADU: A frenzied crowd on rampage, booing, catcalling and shrieking, setting fire to bikes and a vehicle outside the Ice House Police station – the closest to Chennai's Marina beach, where the protest against Jallikattu was being held.

Sources said it was what triggered the retaliation by police — the videos of which have been circulating in social media since yesterday. 

The cellphone video of the attack – NDTV could not verify its authenticity — near the Ice House Police Station opens with a cacophony of boos and hisses. Three young men are seen hitting a motor bike lying on the ground. Screaming and shouting abuses at the police, they continue bludgeoning it. Nearby, others set fire to a couple of bikes. Shoved aside, yellow barricades of the police lie on the road. The sooty black smoke coils across the road. Towards the end of the video, someone is heard shouting, "Let us go to the beach".

It was the same mob, which, the police said, had thrown stones at them yesterday. But after the social media erupted in outrage, they had clarified that the miscreants were "anti-national elements" and not genuine protesters. The Chennai protests, while single-mindedly pursuing the revocation of the ban on Jallikattu, had drawn admiration for the calm, peaceful and non-political way it was conducted.

But as the police arrived to clear the Marina Beach yesterday in view of the arrangements for the Republic Day celebrations, violence had started. The police said they were attacked with stones, then vehicles were set on fire near the Ice House police station. Within a few hours, social media was flooded with videos of men and women in uniform going on the rampage – hitting protesters and setting fire to vehicles and huts. Huge traffic jams started across the city as key roads were blocked by enraged protesters.

While the police have started an investigation into the alleged excesses, taking suo motu cognizance of media reports about it, the Human Rights Commission today issued notices to Chief Secretary, the state police chief and the Police chief of Chennai.

While calm prevailed, bus services were stopped by the police in some parts of Chennai as a precautionary measure.


Courtesy: NDTV