Sterlite protest: Tamil Nadu government in damage control mode; retired HC judge to probe into Thoothukudi police firing that claimed 11 lives

Palaniswami swings into action, orders Rs 10 lakh ex-gratia for the kin of deceased; defends police action, saying protesters turned violent; security upped to prevent matters from snowballing. 

Published: 23rd May 2018 03:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd May 2018 01:06 PM   |  A+A-

Protesters set ablaze vehicles, pelted police personnel with stones when a peaceful protest took an awry turn on Thoothukudi collectorate campus on Tuesday. The mob reportedly damaged the camera of Express lensman (left bottom) during the melee | M Balamurugan & RMR vivekanandan

By Express News Service

CHENNAI:Expressing deep grief over the loss of lives when police opened fire at the protesters, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Tuesday defended the police, saying that they were forced to open fire as the protesters turned violent. However, he said,  the government, in tune with the views of the public, would take appropriate legal action over the Sterlite issue. Just after the police shootout, the chief minister chaired a high-level meeting at the secretariat, in which Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, DGP TK Rajendran, Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan and senior officials were present.

Lamenting that unfortunately 11 people lost their lives in the shootout, Palaniswami announced that a one-man commission, headed by a retired judge of the High Court, would inquire into what happened on Tuesday.  He declared a solatium of Rs 10 lakh each to the families of the victims and assured government employment would be provided to one member from each of the families of the victims. Those who had suffered serious injuries would be given Rs 3 lakh and those who suffered minor injuries Rs 1 lakh.

Disclosing that he had directed the Thoothukudi district administration to provide the best possible treatment to the injured, the CM wished them a speedy recovery. Palaniswami said that a 20,000-strong crowd, violating the prohibitory orders issued under Section 144 of the IPC, laid a siege to the Collectorate.

Despite requests from the police, the agitators pelted stones at them and torched police vehicles as well as the vehicles parked inside the Collectorate. The crowd also pelted stones at the Collector’s office. The police, therefore, had to quell the violence, prevent damage to public properties and save the lives of the public.  

The CM traced the origins of the Sterlite issue and how AIADMK had stood by the people on this issue.
Sterlite Industries (India) Limited is located at Meelavittan near Thoothukudi and has been functioning for the past 20 years.  Following complaints of gas leak from this plant, late Chief Minister, J Jayalalithaa, ordered closure of the plant and disconnected power supply. The Sterlite management challenged this closure order before the National Green Tribunal and based on the order of the Tribunal, the plant was reopened on May 31, 2013. However, the State government challenged the Tribunal’s permission to reopen the Sterlite plant before the Supreme Court and the case is still pending disposal.  Since the licence for operation of this plant expired in March 2018, the Sterlite management applied to the TNPCB for renewal of license for the period of 2018-23.

Defending cops

Despite requests from the police, the agitators pelted stones at them and torched police vehicles as well as the vehicles parked inside the Collectorate, the chief minister said

Genesis of trouble

February 2018: When the news of Sterlite planning to expand its unit trickled in, town erupted in protest
March 31: Licence to operate granted to Sterlite unit at Meelavittan village by TNPCB expires
April 25: Vaiko files a PIL seeking permanent closure of Sterlite at the High Court
Case adjourned to June 7  
Another public interest litigation filed by one Fathima before the Madurai Bench to close the Sterlite Industries for operating without environmental clearance
Sterlite too files a petition at the Bench, seeking a direction to declare a periphery of one km around the Sterlite Industries as ‘no-protest zone’
May 18: Madurai Bench reserves order on Fathima’s petition
Vedanta had initially proposed to establish the plant in Gujarat but this was opposed vehemently and it was decided to shift the establishment of the plant to Goa but because of opposition the plant could not be established in Goa


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  • mort

    Police firing kills more people than Terrorists.
    3 years ago reply
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