Sterlite Copper protest hits 32,500 jobs at Tuticorn plant

Sterlite Copper protest hits 32,500 jobs at Tuticorn plant

In a statement issued late Wednesday night, the DMK said instead of the all-party protest, a bandh would be observed on May 25 to condemn the police action and demand the closure of the Sterlite copper smelting plant in Tuticorin district.

Ten people were shot dead and about 80 wounded by police after crowds set fire to cars and pelted officers with stones on Tuesday.

Criticising Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi Palaniswamy for allowing police to fire at hapless farmers, fighting against a private company, the protesters asked if the lives of farmers mattered to the government.

Sterlite Copper has requested government approval to expand its huge plant in Tuticorin. Protesters demanded the shutting down of Vedanta and its subsidiaries like Sterlite and the arrest of Anil Agarwal, Vedanta's founder chairman.While the Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) Karnataka State Committee burned an effigy and held a protest on Thursday morning at Mysuru Bank Circle on Avenue Road, around 60 concerned citizens gathered at the Prestige Meridien office of Vedanta Limited here on MG Road.

In March 2013, many people living near the plant had complained of breathing difficulty, nausea and throat infection.

Meanwhile, the protests which have been on for almost 100 days, took a turn for the worse when protestors began ransacking and putting vehicles and public property on fire.

Amidst the outrage due to the violence in anti-Sterlite protest in Tuticorin, a video has emerged showing the inhuman reaction of the police as a young man lay dying on the ground.

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Activists also claim that Sterlite obtained its environmental clearance illegally by falsifying information to statutory authorities, while the existing plant is regularly found to be dumping toxic waste in the town, and operating without proper licenses. The Basic Principles state that law enforcement officials shall "apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force and firearms", and that "whenever the lawful use of force and firearms is unavoidable, law enforcement officials shall: (a) Exercise restraint in such use and act in proportion to the seriousness of the offence and the legitimate objective to be achieved; (b) Minimize damage and injury, and respect and preserve human life".

The company has sought to renew the licence of the temporarily non-operational plant and hopes to double its production capacity.

Tamil Nadu is one of India's most industrialised and prosperous states and similar protests over environmental concerns have turned deadly in the past.

Demanding the company's closure, the protesters said, "The company was fined by the Supreme Court for releasing poisonous gases".

He alleged that some political parties and leaders had misguided the agitators against Sterlite and continue to instigate innocent people to agitate.

Following widespread condemnation of the killings, the state chief minister has ordered an inquiry and announced compensation of 10 lakh rupees (US$14,600) to each of the families of those who died.

A spokeswoman for Vedanta Resources said it had witnessed the deaths at the protest "with great sorrow and regret".

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