Mugilan, the Coordinator of Tamil Nadu Environment Protection Movement, went missing on February 15 night while travelling from Chennai Egmore railway station to Madurai. Earlier that day, he had conducted a press meet accusing two senior police officers of being complicit when miscreants torched government vehicles and destroyed CCTV cameras in Thoothukudi during mass protests against Sterlite Copper in May, 2018 in which at least 13 people were killed.
Police firing in Thoothukudi in 2018 (file photo)
Several human rights activists and organisations have appealed to the Chennai Police Commissioner to take immediate steps to trace him.
During the press meet, Mr. Mugilan released video footage indicating that the violence and the subsequent firing were orchestrated by the police, in connivance with the management of Sterlite Copper. He also alleged that senior police officials in the ranks of Inspector General of Police and Deputy Inspector General of Police were involved in the violence.
Mugilan also alleged that the police had burnt the vehicles and blamed it on the anti-Sterlite protestors. He released a video titled Sterlite Hidden Truth, regarding the May 22 police firing in Thoothukudi
In one of his calls to a colleague, Mugilan had earlier feared action by the police since he had named and made accusations against senior police officials in front of the media.
The activist had been earlier booked under the Sedition Act in 2017 in relation to the struggle against the Koodangulam nuclear plant. He had also conducted protests against the sand mining mafia in Tamilnadu.
This abduction of Mugilan for exposing and condemning state terror and failure to trace him so far, is one more instance of attack on human rights and the right to express one’s opinion by the Indian state The fact that Mugilan was abducted after providing evidence against police officers in a press conference shows that his exposures have revealed inconvenient facts about state terror, where individuals or groups of people are targeted for opposing or criticising the activities or policies of the state and its various institutions such as the government, political parties, police and administration. Mugilan’s exposures also reveal how the state distorts facts about genuine struggles of people, organises violence through its agents and provocateurs Hitlerite style, and then blames it on the people struggling for rights.