The months-long protest in Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin demanding closure of Sterlite Copper unit over pollution turned violent on Tuesday after agitators hurled stones at police and set government vehicles on fire. Security personnel used batons and tear gas shells to disperse the crowd. The incident also prompted the police to open fire in which a man was killed. However, unconfirmed reports say, the death toll could be higher. Sterlite Copper is a unit of Vedanta Limited which operates a 4,00,000 tonne per annum capacity plant in Tuticorin. Locals have alleged that the Sterlite Copper unit was polluting groundwater in the area.
Here are the top developments on Tuticorin anti-Sterlite protests:
– MDMK also condemned the police firing. MDMK founder Vaiko has also attacked the AIADMK government over the issue. Other opposition parties such as PMK, DMDK and MNM (Makkal Needhi Maiam) also assailed the Palaniswamy government over the issue.
– Opposition DMK has condemned the police action. Leader of Opposition and Party working president MK Stalin has said to news agency PTI, “Since the government did not take any steps in this regard, the people launched today’s massive rally….police attacked people indiscriminately and opened fire on them which is condemnable.”
— ANI (@ANI) May 22, 2018
– Jayakumar also said that the AIADMK government under the late J Jayalalitha had moved the top court against the order of green tribunal allowing the plant to function. “There is no support by the AMMA government to any project that is not desired by people,” Jayakumar told PTI.
– State Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar has called the police firing as “unavoidable.” “Entering the collector’s office and (perpetrating) violence is not acceptable…. (police) firing became unavoidable,” Jayakumar told PTI. The minister further added that Chief Minister has discussed the matter with officials.
– The protests turned violent after agitators hurled stones at police and set government vehicles on fire. Security personnel used batons and tear gas shells to disperse the crowd. The incident also prompted the police to open fire in which a man was killed. However, unconfirmed reports say, the death toll is 3.
– Around 5,000 protestors have gathered near a local church and insisted on taking out a rally to the Collectorate office. This comes after the protestors were denied permission to take out a rally to the copper smelter plant.