Tuticorin: 9 people killed during the protest held in Tuticorin demanding the closure of the plan of the United Kingdom-based Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper in Tuticorin city of Tamil Nadu for allegedly causing pollution took a violent turn on Tuesday with protestors pelting stones at police.
Five people died and at least 20 got injured after police opened fire on protesters, the New Indian Express has reported.
Tamil daily Dinamalar reported that the protests entered the hundredth day today and despite prohibitory orders under Sec 144 Cr P C, a few hundred protests attempted to storm the district collector’s office in the city.
At the VVD junction signal, police tried to stop the protestors from proceeding further, leading to heated arguments following which stones were pelted at the police. Besides, the protestors also set on fire a few vehicles. Police then resorted to tear gas shelling and lathi-charge. However, the protestors didn’t relent and damaged a police vehicle. They also forced the police Vajra vehicle to backtrack.
Reports said the protestors continued to surge forwards towards the collector’s office, while the police were trying to control them. Shops and business establishments were closed on Tuesday as a call was given in the city for taking out a march to the collector’s office.
Meanwhile, member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Geetha Jeevan was arrested with 200 others near the Sterlite plant when she tried to stage a blockade in defiance of the prohibitory orders.
Protests demanding the closure of Sterlite copper plant were launched in Tuticorin in February, mainly after Vedanta announced its expansion plan. The issue got complicated after the Tamil Nadu Government refused to renew its consent to operate on 9 April. Sterlite has filed a petition in the Madras High Court against this refusal and hearings are currently on.