In Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, 9 people died in police firing on the protesters on Tuesday. The protesters were demanding the closure of the Sterlite Copper factory. There have also been reports of injuries to many people in this firing. Local residents were agitating against this factory for the last three months. The agitators have alleged that the pollution emanating from this factory has taken the entire area in its fold. Its side effects are falling on the health of millions of people. People also allege that due to the Sterlite copper unit the ground water source of the entire area is being polluted.
Protests Getting Violent
Sterlite Copper Factory located in Tuticorin area of Tamil Nadu is owned by Vedanta, a mining industry veteran and notorious company. The ongoing protest turned violent on Tuesday on the question of closing the factory. According to the police, on Tuesday, about 20,000 protesters started moving violently towards the Sterlite Copper Unit. When the police tried to stop them, the protesters threw stones at the security forces and the policemen. In this chaos, some protesters also attacked and vandalized police vehicles. During this time many government vehicles were also set on fire.
According to the information, the police released tear gas shells to disperse the crowd heading towards the Sterlite factory. In response, the protesters set fire to the residential premises of Collectorate and Sterlite employees and broke several vehicles.
Police claim that in the rescue operation, he opened fire in which there is news of the death of nine people. About two dozen people have also been injured. Since this incident, there is an atmosphere of tension in the entire area.
Chief Minister and Compensation
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswamy, who came into action after this incident, has announced immediate compensation. He said to give compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to the kin of those who lost their lives in the shootout and Rs three lakh rupees to the injured. Apart from this, a member of the kin of those killed in police action has also been assured to give a government job according to his merit.
The pressure of anger arising from the incident can be seen clearly on the Chief Minister. Expressing condolences to the kin of the deceased, he said that a one-member commission will be set up to investigate the matter. The commission will consist of a retired Justice of the High Court.
However, it is now spreading rapidly that the police directly fired on the protesters in a very barbaric manner, while she could also operate with tear gas, rubber bullets, etc. Not only this, the police fired bullets directly into people’s heads and chests. But it seems that Chief Minister Palaniswami is also protecting his police from accountability. He said, “The police had to take action in unavoidable circumstances to protect the lives and property of the people, because the protesters were repeatedly committing violence. The police had to stop violence at all costs. ”
According to Palaniswami, about 20 thousand people were going to surround the factory. They set the police and set fire to the vehicles of common people standing in the collectorate, and also threw stones at the collectorate. After this, the police had to force firing.
On the other hand the police claim that section 144 was implemented in the area to provide protection to the Sterlite Copper Unit on the orders of Madras High Court. People were not allowed to take out the rally. But the protesters tried to chase the security personnel and shouted slogans. Not only this, they also started throwing stones at the police.
As soon as the news of the death of nine people came, the matter started taking political color rapidly. Congress Party President Rahul Gandhi has strongly condemned the killing of people in police action. He said that the deaths of people in police action over anti-Sterlite demonstrations in Tamil Nadu is a barbaric example of state-sponsored terrorism. The Congress president tweeted, “Police killed people during anti-Sterlite protests in Tamil Nadu. This is an example of government sponsored terrorism. ”
On the other hand, film star Kamal Haasan’s party Makkal Nidhi Mayyam also issued a statement blaming the Tamil Nadu government for the incident. The statement said that the public is not a criminal. She was dying earlier due to the factory and is now dying due to the attitude of the government. The government had taken the movement against the Sterlite factory very lightly.
The case of Tuticorin Copper Factory is not suddenly disturbed. Here Sterlite Copper of international mining company Vedanta was established in 1996. In this factory, copper casting is done. It is estimated that about four lakh tonnes of copper are manufactured in this plant annually.
Vedanta wanted to make Sterlite Copper Factory in Tuticorin the largest copper factory in the world. But about five lakh population of the towns and villages living around it stood in its way. For these residents, this factory gradually became a destruction. It is alleged that sulfur dioxide and other pollutants released from the factory have severely affected the environment of the entire area. There is not a single house in the area where there is not a single victim of poison coming out of the factory.
Diseases like breath, dermatitis, lungs, heart and cancer have become common. The ground water of the area has also been badly polluted. Villagers say that the closure of this factory is necessary, otherwise life in the area will be destroyed.
The movement of local people caught fire when local people in January He got the news that the factory is preparing to double the capacity and the government is going to renew the license of this company. The villagers then started agitation demanding the closure of it. On 12 February, there was a huge protest against the Tuticorin factory in which about two lakh people attended. Since then this movement was continuous.