Chennai: Environmental activist T Mugilan, missing for nearly six months, was found in a railway station in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh on Saturday. He was brought to Chennai after the police handed over the activist to Tamilnadu police at Katpadi around midnight.
He was brought to Chennai in the wee hours of today and CB-CID police conducted a detailed enquiry. While addressing media persons in Katpadi, Mugilan alleged that he was kidnapped and tortured for 90 days.
Mugilan was missing since 15 February – the day he held a news conference in Chennai alleging police complicity in the Tuticorin police firing last year in which 13 demonstrators protesting against Vedanta’s copper smelter were killed.
The activist disappeared under mysterious circumstances after boarding a train to Madurai at Egmore station. The police, based on CCTV images, claimed the activist exited Egmore station soon after boarding the train.
Since he was actively campaigning against Sterlite Copper plant in Tuticorin, the hydro carbon project in the delta region, political parties and rights activists were apprehensive about his safety, forcing the state government to transfer the case to the Crime Branch-CID. His wife had also filed a habeus corpus petition at the Madras High Court. The State police are also on the lookout for him in a rape and cheating case.
Mugilan was spotted by a passenger at the Tirupati railway station on Platform No 1 at around 7 pm Saturday. The passenger, reportedly an acquaintance of Mugilan’s family, alerted the local police and then informed the activist’s wife.
Mugilan’s family and friends from Tamilnadu informed the police. A video that has surfaced online, purportedly shot by the acquaintance on the railway platform, shows a bearded Mugilan being escorted by the police even as he shouts slogans against the nuclear power plant in Kudankulam.
Following request from CB-CID police from Tamilnadu, he was handed over to them late last night. He was brought to Chennai where he was enquired whether he was kidnapped or he went on a hiding.