Anti-Sterlite Protest in Tuticorin Turns Violence, 10 Feared Killed in Police Firing
The protests going on for last several months demanding closure of Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper unit took a violent turn on Tuesday with ten person feared dead in the clash between protesters and police in Thoothukudi (also known as Tuticorin).
Tamil Nadu DGP TK Rajendran said, “People of Tuticorin need not worry. We are trying to bring the situation under control and it’s almost done.”
The protesters were seen pelting stones and toppling police vehicles after they were prevented from marching towards the plant. They even tried to gherao the Collector’s office as well as the Sterlite plant. Police officials resorted to lathi charge and tear gas to disperse the crowd.
Vehicles inside the Collector’s office were torched by the angry mob. As the situation is extremely tense, police have called for additional reinforcements. Over 2000 police personnel have been moved to Tuticorin from nearby districts to bring the situation under control.
Locals have been protesting for quite some time now against the expansion activities of the Sterlite plant and also demanding the closure of the plant. Protesters have alleged that the plant was polluting ground water in their area.
Police said section 144 of CrPc has been invoked in and around the Sterlite unit to provide security to it as per the orders of the Madras High Court.
The DMK hit out at the AIADMK Government and said the state government was responsible for the clash.
Taking to Twitter, MK Stalin, working president, DMK, said: “AIDMK Government is responsible for the violence in Tuticorin. They never bothered to find a solution to the people’s problem in that area. They were negligent. I strongly condemn the government for not providing adequate security despite knowledge of the protests beforehand. In the wake of these protests, Tamil Nadu government should immediately ensure closure of sterlite plant.”
MDMK Chief Vaiko too condemned the attack on protesters.
Sterlite Copper represents the copper unit of Vedanta Limited which operates a 400,000 tons per annum-plant in Tuticorin.