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Sterlite Protest: Tamil Nadu CM Defends Police Firing, Sec 144 Imposed In Tuticorin Till Sunday

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| May 25 , 2018 , 10:27 IST

The death of 13 people in the anti-Sterlite protests in Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin in the past 3 days shocked the nation as the deaths took place due to police firing, which was defended by Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Thursday.

Section 144 of the CrPC preventing assembly of more than 4 people has been imposed in Tuticorin (Thoothukkudi), which will be in effect till 8 AM on May 27.

CM Palaniswami in a press conference blamed opposition parties and anti-social elements for the violence and claimed that the police firing was done in self-defence.

“Section 144 of the CrPC had been promulgated in Tuticorin to prevent violence. But some opposition parties and anti-social elements were instigating innocent people to pressure the government and give us a bad name,” he said.

ALSO READ: Public Condemns Police Firing On Sterlite Protesters As TN

“We were sitting in the secretariat on that day and watching the happenings in Tuticorin on TV channels. Police followed all steps as per law before resorting to firing. It was done in self-defence,” Palaniswami said.

"If someone is attacked, the natural course would be to defend and safeguard themselves. This is what has been done by the police in response," he added.

Large crowds had on Tuesday gathered to protest against the setting up of a copper plant of Vedanta's Sterlite, alleging that the plant was polluting groundwater and causing health complications.

Since Section 144 had been imposed around the Sterlite plant, the protests took to the streets near the Collectors office in Tuticorin and police were forced to disperse the crowds. The police used controversial firing to disperse the crowds resulting in the death of 13 people, which included 11 men and 2 women. Another 102 were injured out of which 19 are seriously injured. According to Shailesh Kumar, IG (South Range) vehicles worth Rs 1 crore 27 lakh have been burnt down in the protests.

The Tamil Nadu state government has faced immense criticism for the deaths due to police firing, with many even comparing it to the Jallianwalabagh massacre in Amritsar.

Meanwhile, power supply has been cut to the company, which claims it had the necessary permits.