Published: Tue, May 22, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Protests against Vedanta copper smelter in Tuticorin turn violent

Protests against Vedanta copper smelter in Tuticorin turn violent

State minister D Jayakumar in a televised address on Tuesday said police have fired on protesters and that it was "unavoidable". The actor had visited the anti-Sterlite protestors to express his solidarity on April 1.

The state government announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to the next of kin of the victims.

Palaniswami says a retired judge would inquire into the Thoothukudi police shoot-out. One person each from the victims' families will get government employment.

Apart from announcing Rs ten lakh each to the families of the deceased, he also announced an assistance of Rs three lakh and Rs one lakh each to those who suffered serious and simple injuries respectively. "The gunning down by the police of nine people in ..."

The months-long dissent requesting conclusion of Vedanta's Sterlite Copper unit here took a savage turn today with fomenters pelting stones and toppling police vehicles after they were kept from walking towards the plant. Environmental activists have also expressed concern since copper smelting leads to various kinds of pollution and they must be located far away from the residential areas. "Since the protestors indulged in violence, the police had to resort to firing to bring the situation under control". The toll is updated as of 3:30 pm.

All the eight bodies of have been taken to Thoothukudi government medical college and hospital. The citizens are not criminals.

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The minister said the government had not given the license for expansion of the plant. "Everyone, please stay calm". At least 60 people, including policemen and journalists covering the protests, were injured in the clashes.

The police force resisted the marchers and resorted to a lathi charge, reportedly to stop the marchers from entering into the Collectorate. Law and Order ADGP, battalions from Manimuthaaru and Madurai, were rushed to the place where protests were happening. According to the police, those killed include a 55-year-old Jayaraman, a teenager Venista, who was awaiting her Class X results, besides Maniraj, Tamilarasan, Shanmugham, Gladston and Kandhiah. As the entire situation unfolded the mob manhandled a freelance photographer's camera and snatched the memory card. The staff at the District Collectorate was evacuated as the protests intensified. Most shops in Thoothukudi town had downed their shutters accepting the strike call given by Thoothukudi town central traders association.

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. The police responded by firing tear gas shells.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi has also condemned the aggressive resistance used by the Tamil Nadu police to contain the protests.

The agitators pelted stones and damaged police vehicles after they were prevented from marching towards the plant. A section of protesters managed to sneak into collectorate.

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