ibusinesslines.com August 18, 2018

Anti-Sterlite protest in TN turns violent, 20 injured

22 May 2018, 09:16 | Justin Tyler

Vedanta Sterlite Tamil Nadu Violence: 9 Dead As Police Fire During ...

Smoke billows out of burning vehicles after a violent protest demanding closure of Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper unit entered the 100th day in Tuticorin on Tuesday

Nine people were killed on Tuesday when police opened fire on protestors at a demonstration at Thoothukudi in southern Tamil Nadu to demand the closure of Vedanta's Sterlite Copper unit. More than 65 people have been injured in the clashes between agitated protestors and police officials.

The residents of Tuticorin have been protesting for the closure of the Sterlite Copper plant for over a month now.

Since the protesters were prevented from marching towards the plant, they were seen pelting stones and toppling police vehicles.

In retaliation, angry protestors set Thoothukudi Collector office premises and the quarters of Sterlite employees on fire.

Heavy deployment of police personnel, rushed from Madurai and Virudhunagar, tried to bring the protests under control and had even carried out cane charge and fired tear gas shells.

While in excess of 20 individuals endured minor wounds in the stone-pelting episode, a few vehicles were determined to flame, prompting strain in the territory, they included.

Police then resorted to firing as thousands of people gathered in defiance of prohibitory orders on the 100th day of their agitation ever since the company announced the expansion plans of the four lakh tonne per annum Sterlite Copper project and attacked the Collectorate.

More than 2,000 police personnel have been moved from nearby districts to Tuticorin to bring the situation under control.

Palaniswami says a retired judge would inquire into the Thoothukudi police shoot-out.

'The gunning down by the police of 9 people in.Tamil Nadu, is a brutal example of state sponsored terrorism.

"The police had to take action under unavoidable circumstances to protect public life and property as the protesters resorted to repeated violence. police had to control the violence", Palaniswami, who holds the Home portfolio, said.

The assembly of more than five persons has been banned in and around the Sterlite unit to provide security to it, in line with the orders of the Madras High Court.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi said the incident was a "brutal example of state sponsored terrorism".

The state's main opposition DMK party slammed the government for failing to address the concerns of the local people.

Various political parties such as DMK and actor Kamal Hassan's Makkal Neethi Mayyam have also taken part in anti-Sterlite protests.

It said in March this year, the company had applied for removal of consent to operate (CTO) for its existing smelter plant.

Owing to the Anti-Sterlite campaigners' call for a massive protest against the operations of copper smelter here, several hundreds of protesters rallied to the collectorate campus here on Tuesday.

Protesters have alleged that the plant, set up in 1996, was polluting ground water in their area.

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