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Explained: Encounter surge in Tamil Nadu under MK Stalin's regime

Tamil Nadu has been witnessing a surge in police encounter killings. After MK Stalin became the CM in 2021, 13 encounter killings reportedly took place. Let's have a look at the explainer by Asianet News Chief Broadcast Journalist Vishnu Radhan.

Explained: Encounter surge in Tamil Nadu under MK Stalin's regime anr
First Published Dec 28, 2023, 2:15 PM IST

Ever since MK Stalin became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, the state has seen a surge in encounter killings. In the last six months alone, as many as six criminals were shot dead by the state police. Stalin became the Chief Minister in 2021. Thirteen people have been shot dead by state police since then. Some sections of society hail these encounter killings while human rights groups assert that law enforcement officials are themselves carrying out the enforcement of punishments. Nevertheless, under Stalin's regime, there is no exception, and the encounters continue.

For the Tamil Nadu Police, shooting the accused at gunpoint is nothing new. In the past, when Jayalalithaa was the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, encounter killings took place. Those shot by the police at that time included the dreaded forest brigand Veerappan. Inevitably, the question of whether Stalin is trying to surpass that record will come up.

Tamil Nadu police have shot dead six persons in the past six months. The public applauds the fact that every person slain was a hardened criminal. However, some wonder if Stalin is attempting to carry out his Uttar Pradesh counterpart Yogi Adityanath's policies.

The Tamil Nadu police killed two suspects in the murder of gangster Prabhakaran on Wednesday. The police clarified that the gangsters Raghuvaran and Karupp Hassan assaulted them with a machete when they discovered his hiding place and had no choice but to shoot them dead. The police have always argued this way in all of the encounter killings that have occurred thus far.

On October 11, 2021, Murtaza Sheikh, a 28-year-old native of Jharkhand, was killed after being charged with jewellery theft in Sriperumbudur. This marked the beginning of encounters by the police under Stalin's regime. Police in Thoothukudi shot and killed Durai Murugan on October 15, 2021, after he was implicated in seven murder cases. Moideen and Dinesh, both charged in a double murder case, were shot and killed in Chengalpet on January 7, 2022.

On August 1, 2023, Ramesh Chota Vinod, accused in 70 criminal cases, was shot dead in Guduvanchery. On September 16, 2023, Viswanathan, accused in five murder cases, was shot dead in Kancheepuram. On October 12, 2023, Anna DMK leader Parthipan murder case accused Muthusaravanan and Sunday Satish were shot dead at Sholavar. On November 22, 2023, Komb Jagan, accused in many criminal cases, was shot dead by the police in Thiruvaranpur.

In fact, this is how the offenders who the public desires to be punished and executed are eliminated. More people cheer this way rather than seeing a mobster fed in a prison cell. However, it's still unclear if these murders have any other reasons. 

Whether these criminals and the atrocities they have perpetrated are the product of elite hands or interests is the question. It's hard to predict how far the investigation -- if it goes before the law -- will go. Some contend that this may be the cause of the one-time closure of all questions. Gunfire persists, notably in Tamil Nadu, despite the nation's courts and human rights organisations continuously denouncing encounter deaths.

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