Published: Tue, May 22, 2018
Science | By Joan Schultz

Tuticorin streets bloodied with 9 deaths after anti-Sterlite protests turn violent

Tuticorin streets bloodied with 9 deaths after anti-Sterlite protests turn violent

The application has been rejected for want of more clarifications after TNPCB found that the factory has not fulfilled some of the major factors including for not submitting detailed groundwater analysis, action not taken to dispose of waste and not built a compound wall to arrest wastewater mixing in the nearby river. It was supposed to be a plan for 100th day observation of the protests in front of the district collectorate in Tuticorin.

Initial pushing and shoving soon led to violent clashes, after agitated locals began hurling stones at police and overturned a vehicle. Government jobs for the family members of the deceasedhas also been announced. Security personnel used batons and burst teargas shells to break up the protest, PTI reported. "There were no warning signs given to the protesters that the police were going to open fire".

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami has announced an ex gratia compensation of Rs 10 lakh each for those killed during protest in Tuticorin and Rs 3 Lakh each for the injured. Windscreens of some government cars were smashed and bank premises were attacked by the rampaging mobs. Reports say that the police opened fire at around 12:50 pm when they manhandled a freelance photographer's camera and snatched the memory card.

Protesters in Tuticorin had planned to gherao the plant - property of the Vedanta group - as well as the collector's office.

The state's main opposition DMK party slammed the government for failing to address the concerns of the local people.

Opposition PMK, DMDK and MNM, besides Dravidar Kazhagam also assailed the government over the issue. Following this in March, residents and activists staged peaceful protests at Chidambaram Nagar bus stand demanding the closure of the copper plant.

Section 144 of the IPC, which prohibits assembly of more than four persons in an area, was enforced in the area on the orders of the Madras High Court.

Several shops in this town, Srivaikundam and Oddapidaram remained shut in support of the protest, police said. Police were rushed from neighbouring districts of Madurai and Virudhunagar and from Chennai to bring the situation under control.

People in Toothukudi are demanding the closure of Sterlite copper smelting plant alleging that it was polluting the area, and leading to severe health problems among the residents of the locality, besides depleting the water table.

Anti-riot personnel on Vajra and Varun vehicles were moving in the town. The police firing was unavoidable, he said.

The statement said the government will take all legal steps in the matter and asked the people to maintain peace.

Sterlite Copper, the company at the centre of the controversy, now operates a 400,000-tonne per annum unit in the city.

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