Why people want Vedanta plant closed

22 May, 2018, 21:14 | Author: Sherry Houston
  • Why TN is protesting against Sterlite in Tuticorin

The protestors also tried to gherao the collector's office and torched vehicles inside the premise.

With the protests against Sterlite Copper in Tuticorin on Tuesday turning violent when thousands of protestors marched towards the district collectorate, chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami convened an emergency meeting at the state secretariat with top officials to take stock of the situation.

Sterlite Copper is a unit of Vedanta Limited which operates a 400,000-tonne per annum capacity plant in Tuticorin.

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.

Over 4,000 police personnel have been moved to Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu from nearby districts to bring the situation under control.

Meanwhile, a state minister said though the government appreciated the sentiments of the protesters, police firing had become "unavoidable". "In wake of these protests, the Tamil Nadu government should immediately ensure the closure of the Sterlite plant", DMK working president MK Stalin said.

Police said almost 5000 protesters gathered near a local church and insisted on taking out a rally to the district collectorate after they were denied permission to march to the copper smelter plant. As protestors started pelting stones enroute, police had to use mild lathi-charge to disperse the crowd and also teargas.

Nine dead in police firing in Toothukudi as Sterlite protests turn violent

Section 144 of the CrPC was invoked in and around the Sterlite plant to provide security.

Opposition parties including PMK, DMDK, Congress, and the MNM slammed the violence and police action, while actor Rajinikanth, who is slated to launch his political party, held the government responsible for the deaths.

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

In Thoothukudi, protesters set vehicles afire and attacking policemen with stones.

Protesters have alleged that the plant was polluting ground water in their area. He said an inquiry commission would be set up to probe the incident and promised government jobs for family members of those who were killed.

Social activists have also joined the protests against the company.

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. "If possible, it will be good to close down the (existing) unit", Makkal Neethi Mayyam chief Kamal Haasan said. "We are the residents of Thoothukudi who want an end to the pollution by Sterlite", says 43-year-old Kittu, who was part of the protests. In April, the company had sought permission to renew operation licence from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, which was rejected by the board.

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