Nine die as Tuticorin Sterlite Copper protest turns violent


Protests going on for past several months against the setting up of Vedanta's Sterlite Copper unit in Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin turned violent on Tuesday, with 1 person feared to be dead and 6 others injured in clashes between protesters and police. More than 65 people have been injured in the clashes between agitated protestors and police officials. "In the wake of these protests, Tamil Nadu government should immediately ensure closure of Sterlite plant", he said.

The 100th day of the Sterlite protest took a violent turn after local cops opened fire against protestors leading to the death of ten protestors and injuring of over 50 others.

Protesters had torched several vehicles and also pelted stones on the police personnel, forcing the police to retaliate as also to bring the situation under control. At Madathur, police had to resort to a mild lathi-charge at Madathur to disperse the public gathering.

While in excess of 20 individuals endured minor wounds in the stone-pelting episode, a few vehicles were determined to flame, prompting strain in the territory, they included.

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According to the minister, police resorted to firing after over 20,000 people, who were staging a protest demanding the closure of a copper smelting plant in Tuticorin, suddenly went on a rampage, vandalizing government property and offices.

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

Meanwhile, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam working president M K Stalin met the state's chief secretary regarding the anti-Sterlite protests, reported News 18. My thoughts and prayers with the people of Tamil Nadu at this hour of grief. The collector's office has confirmed two deaths at the time of writing this report.

Over 4,000 police personnel from the nearby district have been deployed to prevent crowding proved futile, as the protesters at various areas breached the barricades and marched forward towards the collectorate. Most shops in the town were also shut down after the calls of protest from Thoothukudi town central traders association.

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Police said section 144 of CrPc has been invoked in and around the Sterlite unit to provide security to it as per the orders of the Madras High Court. Haasan's political party Makkal Needhi Maiam issued a statement urging protestors to maintain calm in the city. 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. He said there was no point in putting up a plant near residential and agricultural zone.

Thousands of protesters, especially from Kumarettiyapuram, have been up against the plant's proposed expansion plans citing the threat it poses to the people in neighbouring villages.

Protesters say the plant is polluting ground water in the area and threatens the fishing industry.

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