Why people want Vedanta plant closed

Rodiano Bonacci
Mag 22, 2018

Police say clashes broke out as a huge crowd of protesters stormed district government headquarters.

Kamal Haasan's Makkal Needhi Maiam condemns Thoothukudi shooting - "The protests against the Sterlite plant were taken lightly by the Tamil Nadu government and that attitude is the reason for today's unfortunate events".

The residents of Tuticorin have been protesting for the closure of the Sterlite Copper plant for over a month now. They allegedly pelted stones at police officials and damaged police vehicles.

The area around the Collectorate resembled a battle-zone with the protesters setting vehicles afire and attacking policemen with stones.

The police, who tried to control the protesters, initially lobbed tear gas shells and resorted to baton charges.

The agitation against Sterlite Copper, which represents the copper unit of Vedanta Limited, escalated in February this year after the company announced the expansion of its unit in the coastal city of Thoothukudi (Tuticorin) in Tamil Nadu.

The residents of Tuticorin were demanding the closure of the Sterlite Copper unit over the concerns of pollution.

State minister D Jayakumar in a televised address on Tuesday said police have fired on protesters and that it was "unavoidable".

How did Sterlite come to Tamil Nadu?

Following a Madras High Court directive, the district authorities had issued prohibitory orders under section 144 of CrPC, barring assembly of more than four people in and around the Sterlite plant.

Vedanta Sterlite Tamil Nadu Violence: 9 Dead As Police Fire During ...
Anti-Sterlite protests in Tuticorin: Why people want Vedanta plant closed

Several shops in this town, Srivaikundam and Oddapidaram remained shut in support of the protest, police said.

According to some reports, DMK cadre joined the protesters on the 100th day of the protest and attempted to stage a dharna outside the Thoothukudi Collector's office. "We have brought the situation under control", he said, assuring to conduct an inquiry on whether there were any excesses on the part of the police.

More than 2,000 police personnel have been moved from nearby districts to Tuticorin to bring the situation under control.

DMK Working President MK Stalin blamed the State government, which had failed to find a solution to the problem.

He also urged people to stay calm and said that the government respects the feelings of the people and will take appropriate action on the matter.

"What is the necessity to put up the plant near residential and agricultural zone?"

Opposition PMK, DMDK and MNM, besides Dravidar Kazhagam also assailed the government over the issue.

Owing to the Anti-Sterlite campaigners' call for a massive protest against the operations of copper smelter here, several hundreds of protesters rallied to the collectorate campus here on Tuesday.

Protesters have alleged that the plant was polluting ground water in their area.

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