Congress president Rahul Gandhi today termed the deaths of nine people in police firing during protests against the Sterlite copper plant in Tamil Nadu a “brutal example of state sponsored terrorism”. He said people were murdered in Tuticorin for protesting against injustice. “The gunning down by the police of 9 people in the Sterlite protest in Tamil Nadu is a brutal example of state sponsored terrorism. These citizens were murdered for protesting against injustice. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of these martyrs and the injured,” Gandhi said on Twitter.Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami said nine people were killed in police action at Tuticorin and ordered a judicial inquiry into the police action.
The police action followed months-long protests for the closure of Vedanta’s Sterlite copper unit in Tuticorin, about 600 km from Tamil Nadu capital Chennai, over pollution concerns. The agitation turned violent today, with protesters fighting pitched battles with police, prompting it to open fire. Hurling stones and setting government vehicles and public property on fire, the agitators went on the rampage in the town.