The protestors have reportedly pelted stones at the police after which the latter resorted to firing leaving at least nine persons dead and 20 injured.
As per the Madras High Court orders, the police have imposed section 144 of CrPc near the Sterlite unit to calm down the situation. The agitators raised slogans and pelted stones at the police and also damaged their vehicles. The police then lobbed teargas shells to disperse the marching protestors from approaching the plant, NDTV reported.
Several vehicles were also torched in the area. Shops were shut down in Srivaikundam, Oddapidaram and other areas.
Meanwhile, another protest (peaceful) took place near the old bus stand in the town demanding the closure of the Sterlite plant, NDTV reported.
DMK leader MK Stalin took to Twitter to express his concerns over the incident:
ADMK Government is responsible for the violence in Tuticorin. They never bothered to find a solution to the people's problem in that area. They were negligent. I strongly condemn the govt for not providing adequate security despite knowledge of the protest beforehand. In wake of these protests, TN govt should immediately ensure closure of Sterlite plant
What is the Vedanta Sterlite issue all about?
- Sterlite Copper is a business unit of Sterlite Industries India that deals with the production of Copper.
- Sterlite Industries is a part of London-based Vedanta Resources that runs India's biggest copper smelter.
- It has two offices in India – one in Tuticorin and the other in Silvassa, Daman & Diu.
- Thousands of people have been protesting against the closure of the plant in Tuticorin.
- In March 2013, many people living near the plant had complained of breathing difficulty, nausea and throat infection.
- This was reportedly due to a gas leak from the Sterlite Industries plant.
- The plant was ordered to shut down following allegations of violating pollution control norms.
- The National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) found evidence that suggested Sterlite had contaminated the groundwater.
- However, the plant kept running as National Green Tribunal gave it the green light.
- The Supreme Court had later fined the plant Rs. 100 crore for causing pollution over the years.
- The Sterlite group, however, claimed that it adhered to the pollution norms.
- On March 2018, Sterlite said that it is planning on expanding its plant and setting up another smelting complex.
- Following this, protestors have been demanding the closure of the plant.