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Police blamed for inaction

Special Correspondent

Repeated pleas by employees for help went unheeded

MADURAI: The Madurai district police came under attack for their inability to prevent the attack on the offices of Dinakaran and other media outlets here on Wednesday despite having had specific advance information of a possible attack by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam cadres.

A posse of personnel led by a Deputy Superintendent of Police had been deployed, but a number of youth barged into the premises and hurled petrol bombs.

Failed to act

A `Striking Force' team trained in anti-riot operations, had also been positioned in the locality, but it failed to act.

The police neither tried to prevent the intruders from entering the premises nor made any attempts to arrest them immediately after the attack, said some eyewitnesses and also employees of Dinakaran.

As the attack was on, some journalists of Dinakaran called senior police officers over the mobile phone and sought protection.

However, the officers allegedly maintained that policemen were already deployed at the scene and that they would take care of the situation.

Said a Sun TV employee: "It is gross negligence of duty. How can the police remain mute spectators to such murderous attacks? This is not the first time the police have soft-pedalled when it came to Azhagiri's supporters."

When contacted, Madurai Superintendent of Police T.S. Anbu said there was no deliberate dereliction on the part of the police.

"Agitations condemning the survey by Dinakaran were held all over the district. An alert was sounded and we took prompt action to prevent untoward incidents. In this incident, the suspects overpowered police and forcibly entered into the office."

Besides murder, rioting and criminal conspiracy, the police charged the suspects under Section 449 (Trespass) and 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) of the IPC.

"Allegations of negligence of duty against the police will be enquired [into] and appropriate disciplinary proceedings initiated against the erring police officials," Mr. Anbu added.

Police sources said the case was likely to be transferred to the Crime Branch CID.

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Murderous attack on media freedom

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