Sterlite protest: Tamil Nadu bandh begins, DMK, allies protest against police firing
The bandh called by the DMK-led opposition parties to condemn the Tuticorin violence in which 13 people lost their lives and to demand the resignation of Chief Minister K Palaniswami began in Tamil Nadu today.
Demonstrations were staged by the DMK, its allies Congress, IUML and friendly parties like MDMK, VCK, CPI, CPI(M) and MMK in several parts of the state and neighbouring Puducherry.
Raising slogans denouncing the government and asking Palaniswami to tender his resignation, demonstrations were held at locations including Egmore and Saidapet here.
Former Chennai Mayor and DMK leader M Subramanian, party Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi, VCK chief Thirumavalavan, MMK leader M H Jawahirullah were among the leaders who participated in the demonstrations
In the wake of the protest, traffic was disrupted in several locations in the city and security was tightened in all the districts of the State. Buses of the state-run transport corporations were being operated as usual and all steps were being taken to ensure that normalcy was not disrupted, according to government authorities.
The Tamil Nadu government said on Thursday that it was seeking a permanent closure of a big copper smelter run by London-listed Vedanta Resources after 13 people died in protests demanding the closure of the plant on environmental grounds.
In a circular, 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.
Stating that the people living in Tuticorin and its neighbouring districts were angered by the police action against the agitators, the release said, "The bandh will also reflect the feelings of Tamils."
"The DMK, the All India National Congress, the Dravidar Kazhagam, the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the CPI, the CPI(M), the Indian Union Muslim League, the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi and the Manithaneya Makkal Katchi will participate in the day-long state-wide protest," it added.
Sterlite Copper, which currently operates a 400,000-tonne per annum unit in the city, maintains it has received necessary permits and has not violated any norms.
The residents of Thoothukudi have been demanding the closure of the Sterlite Copper Smelter for the past 100 days and had decided to take out a march before the Tuticorin District Collectorate on Tuesday. The protest took a violent turn after which the police resorted to firing to control the mob.