Congress president Rahul Gandhi today slammed the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party government for the violence in Thoothukodi district of Tamil Nadu after clashes between protesters and policemen during an agitation against the expansion of Vedanata’s Sterlite Copper plant. So far, 11 people have lost their lives more than a dozen are injured in the clashed between locals and police.
Taking to Twitter on Wednesday, Rahul accused the RSS and BJP of crushing the voice of Tamil people, and held that the government is ‘murdering those who refuse to bow down to the RSS ideology’.
“Tamilians are being murdered because they refused to bow down to RSS ideals. RSS and Modi supporters cannot crush down the Tamil people’s emotions. Tamil brothers and sisters, we are with you,” he said in a tweet in Tamil. Rahul targeting the BJP is seen as an attack on the ruling AIADMK government in the state which is seen as a supporter of the saffron party.
Yesterday, Rahul had condemned the police action against the protestors that left many people dead. He said that the gunning down of civilians 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,” he had tweeted.
The death toll in the violence mounted to 11 this morning. The protest turned violent on Tuesday when around 20,000 people who had been protesting for more than 3 months, gathered at the protest site and started marching towards the District Collector’s office. People have been demanding that Sterlite Coper’s unit be shut down over rise in pollution levels.
Meanwhile, taking note of the situation, the Madras High Court has passed an interim order staying the expansion of the plant. Sterlite Copper, which represents the copper unit of Vedanta Limited, has been arguing that it has the license to operate and expand its unit in the city.
On the other hand, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has claimed that senior Congress leader P Chidambaram was a paid director in the company. “P Chidambaram should answer on Sterlite protest incident, he was a paid director in the company for many years. All documents are available. He should now speak up on behalf of Sterlite,” he told news agency ANI.
Several opposition leaders including MDMK chief Vaiko, DMK working president MK Stalin, actor-turned-politician Kamal Hassan are visiting Tuticorin today to take stock of the situation and meet the victims of the violence. The government has imposed Section 144 in the region and deployed heavy police personnel in the district to maintain law and order situation.