2000 Dharmapuri bus burning

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2000 Dharmapuri bus burning
Dharmapuri Bus Burning.jpg
Bus burnt during Protests against Jayalalithaa's conviction
LocationElakiyampatti, Dharmapuri, Tamil Nadu, India
Date2 February 2000 (2000-02-02)
TargetTamil Nadu Agricultural University bus passengers
Attack type
Arson, mass murder,
WeaponsPetrol bomb
Deaths3 college girls
Non-fatal injuries
16 college girls
PerpetratorMuniappan, Nedunchezhian , Ravindran and D.K. Rajendran and 24 other AIADMK terrorists.[1][2]
MotiveProtest against Jayalalithaa's conviction in Pleasant Stay hotel case

The Dharmapuri bus burning incident occurred on February 2, 2000 at Ilakiyampatti, on the outskirts of Dharmapuri in Tamil Nadu, India. Three students from the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore were burned to death.[3] The Supreme Court of India initially convicted and sentenced the three main accused Muniappan, Nedunchezhian and Ravindran to death observing it was rarest of the rare and earlier the Salem District court had stated that crime was committed "only for the political career" .[4] But it was commuted to life imprisonment by the three member bench headed by Justice Gogoi after a review petition in which they accepted , the defence lawyer L. Nageswara Rao's arguments who admitted that the three main accused had indeed taken petrol from a workshop and set fire to the bus which killed the girl students but stated the convicts were acting in mob frenzy and it was case of Diminished responsibility.[5][6][7][8] Tamil Nadu government had recommended the premature release Muniappan, Nedunchezhian and Ravindran ,the Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit rejects the recommendation but the Edappadi K Palaniswami government again recommends there release and the Governor approves it and they was freed from Vellore Jail .[9]


Soon after the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party (DMK) came into power in Tamil Nadu in 1996, it filed a series of corruption cases against the former Chief Minister and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) general secretary J. Jayalalithaa, other ministers, and bureaucrats of her government. In the Pleasant Stay hotel case, a Special Court judgement given by Justice V. Radhakrishnan convicted Jayalalithaa and sentenced her to one year of "rigorous imprisonment".[10] This led to statewide protests and violence, including damage to public property by AIADMK members.[11] The Protests in Elakiyampatti in Dharmapuri were led by AIADMK Dharmapuri union secretary D.K. Rajendran along with other AIADMK party workers including Nedu alias Nedunchezhiyan, then secretary of the Dharmapuri town unit Madhu alias Ravindran, MGR forum functionary, and P Muniappan, a former panchayat president.[12]


Seventy students from the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, were returning from a study tour on two buses with boys and girls in separate buses.While returning they learn the news of Jayalalitha 's conviction in the Pleasant Stay hotel case, Latha one of the lecturers accompanying the students telephones the Vice Chancellor of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University who asks them to go a safe place and travel back to Coimbatore after normally returns.Accordingly they attempt to take the buses to the District Collector’s office.However they unable to go there due to traffic being obstructed due to road roko agitation by AIADMK party men led by Dharmapuri union secretary D.K. Rajendran in violation of prohibitory orders.[12][13] AIADMK party workers threw petrol bombs inside the bus carrying girls even through it was full of girls with over 44 girls and 2 lecturers [14] and the front-side of the bus caught fire spreading backwards as the back door was locked keys were not handily available , lecturers Latha and Akila and some students manage to come out and through boys from the other bus manage to break the backdoor and pull out some of the girls the fire had spread fast and three girls, Hemalatha from Chennai, V. Gayathri from Virudhachalam and Kokilavani from Namakkal were burned to death, and 16 others were injured.[15][16][17][3] The scenes of the bus burning were captured and broadcast the following day on Sun TV.[18]


The incident caused anger amongst the student community. Schools and colleges were asked to shut for a week, and students across the state held silent processions and protest marches condemning the act.[19] Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi ordered a CB-CID investigation. Jayalalithaa demanded a CBI probe for a fair trial.[20] During the initial trial held at Krishnagiri court, 20 witnesses became hostile.N.P. Veerasamy the father of Kokilavani one of the girls burnt alive appealed in the Madras High Court seeking a transfer of the case from Dharmapuri as the AIADMK had returned to power in Tamil Nadu and the prosecutor of the case was appointed by it and accused were AIADMK functionaries and party activists.Accepting his appeal the Madras High Court halted the trial and High court Judge V. Kanagaraj calling the trial a `colossal failure and eyewash' he scarped it and ordered a re-trial at Salem court.[21][22] After a series of delays in appointing a special public prosecutor[23] and problems with missing case bundles,[24] the trial progressed slowly. Seven years after the incident, on 15 February 2007, the Salem court sentenced 3 AIADMK men to death and 25 others to seven years imprisonment.[25] Two others were acquitted, and one person died during the course of the investigation.The judgment was upheld by Madras High Court on December 6, 2007,[26] subsequently by the Supreme Court on August 30, 2010.[27] and later upholding the execution of 3.[28] But it was commuted to life imprisonment after the Defence lawyers L. Nageswara Rao and Sushil Kumar accepted that the AIADMK mob had set fire to the bus but said that the accused only wanted to damage buses and that killing was not pre-planned but a spur of the moment reaction and the Supreme Court of India accepted the argument of Diminished responsibility .[14][8] Dharmapuri AIADMK leader D.K. Rajendran and the first accused in the case the then union secretary for Dharmapuri who organised the road roko protest and was originally convicted for 7 years which was later reduced to 2 years courted controversy when it was found he was holding four positions cooperative milk society and he resigned after the Madras High Court "deep anguish and displeasure" that a convict could hold positions despite being statutory disqualified due to his conviction.[29][15][13] A granite structure has been built as a memorial for with names of V. Gayatri, K. Hemalatha and V. Kokilavani engraved for the dead girls in the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University hostel.The girls were aged 20 years at the time of the incident.[30]

The Tamil Government actually ruled by AIADMK tries to release the three persons involved in this case. Accordingly to prison sources, at least 1,500 prisoners will get the benefit of the general amnesty of the Tamil nadu government. And this list contained these three person (Muniappan, Nedunchezhian and Ravindran) who seems to be AIADMK party members, a tactial and silent move by AIADMK to release their party members. On 19-11-2018, AIADMK men convicted in Dharmapuri college bus burning case set free. [31]

In popular culture[edit]

The Tamil language film Kalloori was released in December 2007, just days before the Madras High court upheld the judgment of Salem court. The movie is about college life, and climaxed with a bus burning incident. Following public and media demands, the ending was changed.[32]


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  2. ^ "28 AIADMK men convicted in bus burning case". DNA. 15 February 1007. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  3. ^ a b "3 burnt alive". The Hindu. 2000-02-03. Archived from the original on 2009-09-04. Retrieved 2009-08-08.
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  5. ^ "Wait, Murderous Bus-Burning AIADMK Members Were 'Victims' Of Mob-Think? The Apex Court Thinks So". Suchitra Vijayan. Huffington Post. 15 July 2016. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
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  10. ^ "Jayalalitha convicted in hotel case". The Hindu. 2000-02-03. Retrieved 2009-08-08.
  11. ^ "HOTEL CASE VERDICT: AIADMK volunteers go berserk". The Hindu. 2000-02-03. Archived from the original on 2009-09-04. Retrieved 2009-08-08.
  12. ^ a b "SC upholds death for Amma's boys 3 AIADMK Workers Who Burnt Alive College Girls During Protest Against Jaya's Conviction Join Death Row". Sanjay K Singh. The Times of India. 7 September 2010. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  13. ^ a b "AIADMK members among 31 chargesheeted". The Hindu. 29 April 2000. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  14. ^ a b "Was upset with Jaya conviction, plead 3 AIADMK men on death row for burning bus". J VENKATESAN. Deccan Chronicle. 4 March 2016. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  15. ^ a b "IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS. 127–130 OF 2008" (PDF). Supreme Court of India. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  16. ^ "They burnt to death in front of our eyes'". A G Nadar. Rediff News. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  17. ^ "Witnesses recall Dharmapuri bus burning incident". The Hindu. 22 May 2005. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  18. ^ "Sun TV news editor deposes in bus-burning trial". The Hindu. 2005-06-22. Retrieved 2009-08-13.
  19. ^ "Schools and colleges ordered shut in Tamil Nadu". Archived from the original on 2009-09-04. Retrieved 2009-08-24.
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  21. ^ "HC scraps 'eyewash' of bus burning trial". The Hindu. 20 September 2003. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  22. ^ "How the bus burning case victims got justice HC Shifted Trial From Dharmapuri To A Salem Court". A Subramani. The Times of India. 31 August 2010. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
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  25. ^ "Death for three AIADMK members". CNN IBN. 2007-02-16. Archived from the original on 2009-09-04. Retrieved 2009-08-24.
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  27. ^ "Dharmapuri bus burning case: SC upholds death for three AIADMK workers". Times of India. 2010-08-30. Retrieved 2010-08-30.
  28. ^ "Dharmapuri bus burning: SC stays execution of 3". Zee news. 2011-01-28. Retrieved 2013-01-07.
  29. ^ "First accused in Dharmapuri bus burning case quits posts". A Subramani. The Times of India. 4 November 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  30. ^ "TNAU students pay homage to bus burning victims". The Hindu. 17 February 2007. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  31. ^ "AIADMK men convicted in Dharmapuri college bus burning case set free". The Hindu India. 2019-11-19. Retrieved 2018-11-19.
  32. ^ "Kalloori, with a different climax!". Yahoo Movies India. 2007-12-19. Retrieved 2009-08-24.

External links[edit]