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Sterlite Protests Turn Violent In Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin, Over 2,000 Police Personnel Brought In

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| May 22 , 2018 , 14:51 IST

Protests going on for past several months against the setting up of Vedanta's Sterlite Copper unit in Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin turned violent on Tuesday, with 1 person feared to be dead and 6 others injured in clashes between protesters and police.

More than 2,000 police personnel have been moved from nearby districts to Tuticorin to bring the situation under control.

Local residents and social activists have been protesting against the expansion activities of the Sterlite plant and demanding that it be closed down, alleging that the plant was polluting the ground water in their area and causing serious health complications.

As per the orders of the Madras High Court, police said that Section 144 of CrPc had been invoked around the Sterlite unit to provide security to it. Sterlite Cooper claims that it has all the requisite permits and has not violated any norms.

Since the protesters were prevented from marching towards the plant, they were seen pelting stones and toppling police vehicles. They also tried to 'gherao' the Collector's office and the Sterlite plant, forcing police officials to resort to lathi-charge and tear gas to disperse the crowd.

Opposition DMK slammed the ruling AIADMK government, blaming it for the clashes.

“AIDMK 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," said MK Stalin, working president of the DMK in a tweet.

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"I strongly condemn the government for not providing adequate security despite knowledge of the protests beforehand. In the wake of these protests, Tamil Nadu government should immediately ensure closure of Sterlite plant,” he said.

Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan who recently formed his own party 'Makkal Neethi Mayyam' also condemned Sterlite Copper.

“The expansion (of Sterlite Copper) should not at all be allowed. If possible it will be good to close down the (existing) unit," said Haasan.  

"What is the necessity to put up the plant near residential and agricultural zone? …to say that the location is close to the port is not acceptable,” he said.