A man was killed in fresh police firing on anti-Sterlite plant agitators on Wednesday, while some others were injured in clashes with security personnel in Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin town, a day after ten people were killed in police firing in the town.
Locals have been agitating for over 100 days demanding the closure of Vedanta Group’s Sterlite copper plant over pollution concerns.
Opposition parties slammed the government and criticised the use of force against the protesters.
The Madurai bench of Madras High Court on Wednesday stayed the expansion of Sterlite’s copper smelting plant.
Here are the live updates:
3.34pm: A man was killed and others injured when security personnel opened fire at Anna Nagar in Tuticorin today, reports PTI. Police resorted to firing after protesters, enraged over Tuesday’s killings, took to the streets and showered them with stones and brickbats.
3.23pm: Two police buses parked in a residential neighbourhood were set on fire by unidentified persons and while the blaze was put out in one vehicle, another was almost completely gutted, PTI reports.
A section of people who allegedly tried to forcibly enter the general hospital premises were baton-charged, police said.
3.14pm: In a column written for The Hindu, popular Tamil actor Suriya questioned why the protest ended in violence. He wrote, “The protest against Sterlite is not something that happened suddenly. It has been in the making for almost 25 years. When people of Maharashtra said that they did not want a factory that was dangerous for the lives of people, it came to Tamil Nadu and has become the bane of people.”
3.01pm: One person has died and three have been injured in fresh violence at Anna Nagar in Tuticorin, reports ANI.
2. 35pm: Congress president Rahul Gandhi has extended support to the people of Tamil Nadu.
“Tamilians have been massacred because they refused to accept Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS’s) ideologies. The RSS and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have been opposed by Tamil Nadu. Also, people of Tamil Nadu cannot be suppressed,” he tweeted in Tamil.
2.28pm: Kamal Haasan has been detained by the police, say TV reports.
2.17pm: Forces have been deployed outside the General Hospital in Tuticorin. A bus was set ablaze outside the hospital by protesters earlier today.
2.11pm: National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the Tamil Nadu chief secretary and the director general of police over the firing, reports ANI. NHRC has sought a report within two weeks.
2.01pm: DMK working president MK Stalin questioned the state government’s role and asked why adequate police presence to maintain law and order was not provided.
1.55pm: Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan, who met those injured during the protest today, attacked the AIADMK government saying,”We must know who ordered this firing. It is not me but the victims who are demanding this. Merely announcing compensation isn’t a solution. This industry must be shut and this is what people demand.”
Rajinikanth took to Twitter and wrote in Tamil: “This is a condemnable act, and I’m deeply saddened. This loss of lives by gunfire is due to government’s inaction and their indifference towards the sentiments of the people. Tamil Nadu government is responsible for the violence and deaths. Government’s lackadaisical ways have led to the deaths of innocents.”
1.46pm: “What happened in Tuticorin is a cold-blooded murder by police. They should be booked for murder and the SP, Collector, DGP and chief secretary should be suspended. Taking moral responsibility, CM Edappadi K Palaniswami should resign,” Pattali Makkal Katchi’s Anbumani Ramadoss told ANI.
1.37pm: The Tamil Nadu government has appointed a one-person Commission of Inquiry headed by a retired judge of the Madras High Court to probe the violence, reports PTI. The inquiry will cover the “law and order incidents following the siege of the District Collectorate by thousands of persons violating prohibitory orders,” an official release said.
Appointing retired Judge Aruna Jagadeesan for the task, the government said she would submit her report to the government. However, the time-frame for submitting the report has not been specified.
1.30pm: The Centre has asked the Tamil Nadu government to provide details of the incident. Union Home Ministry officials told PTI that the ministry was in touch with the state government over the developments in town.
1.25pm: “Forty-twp people have been admitted to our hospital till now, few transferred to Tirunelveli medical college to reduce congestion. Ten bodies are in the mortuary here. Seventeen surgeries have been done,” Dr A Edwin Joe, Director of Medical Education in TamilNadu told ANI.