2000 Dharmapuri bus burning

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2000 Dharmapuri bus burning
Dharmapuri Bus Burning.jpg
Bus burnt during Protests against Jayalalithaa's conviction
Location Elakiyampatti, Dharmapuri, Tamil Nadu, India
Date 2 February 2000 (2000-02-02)
Target Tamil Nadu Agricultural University bus passengers
Attack type
Arson, mass murder,
Weapons Petrol bomb
Deaths 3 college girls
Non-fatal injuries
16 college girls
Perpetrator Muniappan, Nedunchezhian and Ravindran and 25 other AIADMK activists.[1][2]
Motive Protest 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 but it was later commuted to life imprisonment.[4]


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".[5] This led to statewide protests and violence, including damage to public property by AIADMK members.[6]


Seventy students from the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, were returning from a study tour on two buses. They were stopped by AIADMK men and they threw a petrol bomb, setting fire to a bus before all of the students could have had got out. Three girls, Hemalatha from Chennai, V. Gayathri from Virudhachalam and Kokilavani from Namakkal were burned to death, and 16 others were injured.[3] The scenes of the bus burning were captured and broadcast the following day on Sun TV.[7]


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.[8] Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi ordered a CB-CID investigation. Jayalalithaa demanded a CBI probe for a fair trial.[9] During the initial trial held at Krishnagiri court, 20 witnesses became hostile, and the Madras High Court halted the trial, ordering a re-trial at Salem court. After a series of delays in appointing a special public prosecutor[10] and problems with missing case bundles,[11] 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.[12] 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,[13] subsequently by the Supreme Court on August 30, 2010.[14] and later upholding the execution of 3.[15]

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.[16]


  1. ^ "TN bus burning case: SC commutes death sentence of 3 to life". Times of India. 12 March 2016. Retrieved 11 March 2016. 
  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. 
  4. ^ "Dharmapuri bus burning: SC commutes death sentence to life imprisonment". Business Standard. 11 March 2016. Retrieved 11 March 2016. 
  5. ^ "Jayalalitha convicted in hotel case". The Hindu. 2000-02-03. Retrieved 2009-08-08. 
  6. ^ "HOTEL CASE VERDICT: AIADMK volunteers go berserk". The Hindu. 2000-02-03. Archived from the original on 2009-09-04. Retrieved 2009-08-08. 
  7. ^ "Sun TV news editor deposes in bus-burning trial". The Hindu. 2005-06-22. Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  8. ^ "Schools and colleges ordered shut in Tamil Nadu". Archived from the original on 2009-09-04. Retrieved 2009-08-24. 
  9. ^ "Bus burning incident: Jayalalithaa demands CBI inquiry". The Hindu. 2000-02-04. Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  10. ^ "Bus burning case: court directive to investigating agency". The Hindu. 2004-12-07. Retrieved 2009-08-24. 
  11. ^ "Bus burning case bundles missing?". The Hindu. 2005-02-18. Retrieved 2009-08-24. 
  12. ^ "Death for three AIADMK members". CNN IBN. 2007-02-16. Archived from the original on 2009-09-04. Retrieved 2009-08-24. 
  13. ^ "Madras HC upholds death penalty to AIADMK men". CNN IBN. 2007-12-06. Retrieved 2009-08-24. 
  14. ^ "Dharmapuri bus burning case: SC upholds death for three AIADMK workers". Times of India. 2010-08-30. Retrieved 2010-08-30. 
  15. ^ "Dharmapuri bus burning: SC stays execution of 3". Zee news. 2011-01-28. Retrieved 2013-01-07. 
  16. ^ "Kalloori, with a different climax!". Yahoo Movies India. 2007-12-19. Retrieved 2009-08-24.