Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Vedanta Sterlite copper smelter must shut down: Citizens pen a hard-hitting letter

Subramanian Swamy and P Chidambaram Madras High Court issues interim stay on expansion of Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi
Doris Mccormick | 23 May, 2018, 20:23

He said police had been forced to act "since protesters disregarded a curfew, acted against the advice of police", and indulged in violence.

The state's chief minister, Edappadi K. Palaniswami, said police had been forced to act after the protests turned violent, and that nine people had been killed. Several reports, however, put the death toll at 11. The state government and the district administration should also be blamed for failing to appreciate the depth of resentment among the people of Tuticorin to Sterlite's illegal and polluting operations and the betrayal by the state of its people.

Public transport has been suspended from Thoothukudi to other parts of Tamil Nadu. Ten people died yesterday after police opened fire on protesters who were demanding a permanent closure of the copper smelting plant of Sterlite. "My thoughts & prayers are with the families of these martyrs and the injured".

In a repeat of the Dera protests in Panchkula, police appear to have failed to follow standard operating procedures for crowd control, and then fallen back on brutal tactics in the hour of crisis.

Thousands of protesters participated in the rally calling for the closure of the Sterlite copper plant, which posed health threats besides causing damage to the environment.

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Environmental activists and some local politicians want the government to shut the plant permanently.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has also issued a notice to Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary and Director general of police (DGP) over the police firing.

Vedanta says the protests are based on "false allegations", and that it plans to double capacity at the smelter to 800,000 tonnes per year.

Let us not forget that for the second time in two months more than one lakh residents of this coastal town have taken to the streets with one clear demand: immediate and complete shutdown of Sterlite.

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