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Anti-Sterlite protest in Thoothukudi, the violence and aftermath
23 May 2018, 08:56 | Floyd Cook
Anti-Sterlite Protest in Tamil Nadu: Fresh Firing Leaves 1 Dead, Three Injured
The Madras high court's Madurai bench will deliver an interim order on Wednesday on the ongoing construction of a new copper smelting plant by Sterlite Industries in Tamil Nadu's Thoothukudi, where at least nine people were killed when police fired at violent protesters calling for its closure.
"The Sterlite Copper plant is now non-operational as we await approval for the consent to operate", it said.
The locals are up in arms against the construction of the copper plant, claiming that it would pollute groundwater in their area, thus causing serious environmental hazards.
An agitation against the plant started 100 days ago and took a violent turn on Tuesday in Thoothukudi, which was formerly known as Tuticorin, after protesters learnt of a plan by Sterlite Copper, a subsidiary of metals and mining conglomerate Vedanta Resources, to double capacity at the smelter to 800,000 tonnes per year. Nine people died nearly instantly in police firing.
The police's action of opening fire on protesters has come under heavy criticism from several quarters, with many even demanding that the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami-led government step down.
Appointing retired Judge Aruna Jagadeesan for the task, the government said she would submit her report to the government.
The National Human Rights Commission also sent a notice to the Tamil Nadu government asking for a report on the issue and giving it two weeks to respond to the matter. The police, who were outnumbered by the protesters, opened fire in which 10 persons died.
After being chased away from the GH, the mob pelted stones on the police and their vehicles. In the incident, the SP was injured.
Shops and commercial establishments remained shut, educational institutions were also closed.
District Collector N. Venkatesh said the prohibitory orders were extended in Vembar, Kulathur, Arumugamangalam, Vedanatham, Ottapidaram and Eppodum Vendran in Thoothukudi district.
Public transport has been suspended from Thoothukudi to other parts of Tamil Nadu. Keeping in view, the simmering situation, effective precautionary measures and deployment of adequate number of police personnel could possibly avert the unfortunate incident.
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