Shut down Sterlite Copper plant in Tuticorin immediately: CPI(M)

Kelvin Reese
May 23, 2018

The total death toll now stands at 12.

Protesters who marched to the Thoothukudi Collectorate against the expansion of the Sterlite Copper plant owned by Vedanta Limited were stopped by barricades put up by the police. "The state government should hold talks with all stake-holders", the party said in its statement. After the stone-pelting began, the police "had to use minimum force and remove them", Trichy DIG Pradeep Kumar, who's been tasked with maintaining law and order at the premises, said.

He said police had been forced to act "since protesters disregarded a curfew, acted against the advice of police", and indulged in violence. "Also, people of Tamil Nadu can not be suppressed", he tweeted in Tamil. "My thoughts & prayers are with the families of these martyrs and the injured".

Eleven persons have died in police firing during the anti-copper plant violence at Tuticorin so far, while many have been injured in clashes with security personnel.

In retaliation, police officials resorted to lathi-charge and tear gas to disperse the crowd to contain the situation.

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State Minister D. Jayakumar said in a televised address that it had been "unavoidable" for police to fire on protesters.

Thousands of protesters participated in the rally calling for the closure of the Sterlite copper plant, which posed health threats besides causing damage to the environment.

Environmental activists and some local politicians want the government to shut the plant permanently.

Official reports, including information reaching the Tamil Nadu Police in Chennai, said the 10th person injured in police firing succumbed to his injuries late on Tuesday night. It is scheduled to reopen in June and plans to double its capacity.

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