Anti-Sterlite protest in Tuticorin: 9 killed in police firing, Tamil Nadu CM announces ex-gratia
The protests going on for last several months demanding closure of Vedanta's Sterlite Copper unit took a violent turn on Tuesday with nine people killed and several injured in the clash between protesters and police in Thoothukudi (Tuticorin).
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami has announced an ex gratia compensation of Rs 10 lakh each for those killed during protest in Tuticorin and Rs 3 Lakh each for the injured. Government jobs for the family members of the deceasedhas also been announced. An inquiry commission will be set up for investigation into the incident, said reports.
Police said section 144 of CrPc has been invoked in and around the Sterlite unit to provide security to it as per the orders of the Madras High Court.
However, angered over not being allowed to take out a rally, the slogan-shouting protesters forcibly tried to push back the security personnel in riot gear. They then started hurling stones at police and also overturned a vehicle after which the security personnel lobbed teargas shells to disperse them, they said.
While more than 20 people suffered minor injuries in stone-pelting incident, some vehicles were set on fire, leading to tension in the area, they added. Several shops in this town, Srivaikundam and Oddapidaram remained shut in support of the protest, police said.
The district has been witnessing several protests by locals and others against the Sterlite Copper plant here and its proposed expansion. Protesters have alleged that the plant was polluting ground water in their area.
Sterlite Copper represents the copper unit of Vedanta Limited which operates a 400,000 tonnes per annum-plant in Tuticorin.
Over 4,000 police personnel have been moved to Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu from nearby districts to bring the situation under control.