Asian Centre for Human Rights

Dedicated to promotion and protection of human rights in Asia



I. Overview

Ruled by the AIADMK, Tamil Nadu became infamous for abusing the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) of 2002 against political opponents for their alleged support to the proscribed Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam of Sri Lanka, the Tamil National Liberation Army, Tamil National Retrieval Troops and Peoples War Group. Forty-one cases were registered under the Act in Tamil Nadu. [1] Even juveniles were arrested under the POTA. [2]

The law enforcement personnel have been responsible for serious human rights violations including custodial death, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention. On the night of 21 January 2004, the Tamil Nadu Police reportedly conducted combing operation in the areas of Perumanallur, Anupparpalayam,   Mangalam and some pockets of Tirupur North, South and Rural police limits under Tirupur in Coimbatore district. The police allegedly took 428 persons into custody arbitrarily, detained them in the police station for the night and released them on the next day only after taking their fingerprints without assigning any reason. [3]

Sandalwood smuggler, Veerappan was killed on 18 October 2004. However, the report of the Justice A.J. Sadashiva, a former judge of the Karnataka high court who was commissioned by the National Human Rights Commission in June 1999 to look into the complaints of torture and harassment by Special Task Force (STF) personnel while hunting Veerappan, is yet to be made public.

The Dalits are subjected to torture, humiliation and other violations. On the night of 16 May 2004, houses of several Dalit families were set on fire in Kalapatti village under Coimbatore allegedly by upper caste men of the village for not voting in favour of their candidate in the Lok Sabha elections. [4]

[1] . ‘Declare Vaiko’s detention illegal’, The Central Chronicle, 15 August 2003

[2] .

[3] . Police harassment alleged in Tirupur, The Hindu, 23 January 2004

[4] . 4 Dalits bear brunt of TN caste war, The Telegraph, 12 July 2004