CHENNAI: Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Tuesday asserted that the police were left with no option but to fire at the bank robbers as they endangered the lives of people in thickly populated Velachery on the night of February 22. Intervening after Deputy Leader of the Opposition Panruti S Ramachandran mentioned the encounter, she said the police retaliated only to protect the public and themselves as the robbers continued to fire despite warning. Giving a blow-by-blow account, she said when the police, led by Deputy Commissioner R Sudhakar, asked the robbers holed up in a TN Housing Board apartment to open the door, in Hindi and Tamil, they warned the police to disperse. Simultaneously, they began firing at the police. Again, the DCP warned them to halt the firing, she said, adding that they did not pay heed, instead injuring two police inspectors. The police officials, with bullet injuries, and five occupants of the apartment (robbers) were taken to Royapettah GH. However, the robbers were declared brought dead, she said. Five pistols, a shotgun and a revolver besides `14,01,020 in cash were recovered from the apartment. During investigation, it was found that the accused were wanted in connection with cases in Bihar and Maharashtra, where they had used explosives and engaged in murders and heists. Pointing out that a case was pending in the Madras High Court, she said it might not be appropriate to deliberate more on it. Friends of PeopleStating that the police were friends of people, Jayalalithaa said they were friends of only law-abiding citizens. Noting that the police followed the guidelines of the National Human Rights Commission, she said police too had the right of self-defence, in criminal law. They use only minimum force even in self-defence, she said. She added that during the DMK regime, cases were not registered despite complaints.