Protests against Vedanta copper smelter in Tuticorin turn violent

Federico Mansilla
May 22, 2018

"This seems like an effort by the police to stop protests against Sterlite".

Protestors at Chepauk burning effigy of Sterlite owner.

In 1992, Sterlite acquired 500 acres of land in Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation to set up a 60,000 tonne per annum copper smelter and associated facilities in the coastal district of Ratnagiri, reported The News Minute. Paliniswami also announced that a government job will be given to one member of the family of each victim who lost their lives in Tuesday's violence.

DMK Working President MK Stalin condmened the police action, saying the state government should have sorted out the issue earlier through talks with the protesters.

Actor Rajinikanth too tweeted that the State government was responsible for the death of "innocent people". Those who were injured will be given Rs 3 lakh for serious injuries and Rs 1 lakh for minor injuries.

Most of the bullet wounds on the deceased were above the abdomen.

As the violence spiralled, police opened fire, killing a man.

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Following the clashes, the assembly of more than five persons, rallies, public meetings, processions and the exhibition of weapons and flags have been banned in the Thoothukudi district. Images also show protesters and police in a tense standoff with barricades between them. "Since the protestors indulged in violence, the police had to resort to firing to bring the situation under control".

Death toll rises to eight in police firing during the Sterlite protest. Citizens are not criminals. But, they flouted these rules and built the plant in its 14-km radius. "Everyone please stay calm", the party said in a press release.

An injured protestor being taken to a nearby hospital. The protesters also tried to gheraoed the collector's office. Law and Order ADGP, battalions from Manimuthaaru and Madurai, were rushed to the place where protests were happening. They snatched his camera and took away the memory card in it, threatening that the images in it would be erased.

"The expansion (of Sterlite Copper) should not at all be allowed.if possible it will be good to close down this unit", he had told reporters in Tuticorin.

Nine people have died in clashes with police in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu amid protests against a copper smelter that residents say is causing environmental damage.

Despite Thoothukudi district collector clamped prohibitory orders under section 144 in view of the protest called by the villagers, the protestors who gathered in large numbers took out a massive rally violating the prohibitory orders and barricades erected by the police. The protesters gheraoed police vehicle at VVD signal while on their way to collectorate. As police could not control the crowd, they resorted to a few actions, it said.

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