Tuesday's protests in the port city of Tuticorin, now called Thoothukudi, were to mark 100 days of their protests against the Sterlite plant, one of India's biggest copper plants, because they felt it was polluting their environment, The residents had been accusing the plant of polluting ground water for years. Security personnel used batons and burst teargas shells to break up the protest. They also reportedly ghearoed the Collector's office and torched vehicles there.
"The police had to take action under unavoidable circumstances to protect public life and property as the protesters resorted to repeated violence". Reinforcements have been rushed from neighbouring districts to Tuticorin to assist the local administration in restoring normalcy. Actor Rajnikanth also took to Twitter and slammed the AIADMK. "The government requests the people to hold their peace till such time", it said. He said the government had expressed strong concerns over the expansion in the ongoing litigation at the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board Appellate Authority, which had adjourned the case to June 6.
At least 30 people were injured, Tuticorin district collector N Venkatesh told ET on the phone on Tuesday, adding that the death toll may rise because two people were in critical condition. Following a gas leak in March 2013, the then chief minister the late J Jayalalithaa, ordered its closure, following which the company moved the National Green Tribunal. Fathima is the petitioner against the Vedanta Group at the Madras High Court.
Vedanta shares dropped six per cent today in the wake of the firing.
One protester said reports of probable violence had been circulating for over a week.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Haasan said the government has no choice now but to "shut the factory".
A day after over 11 people died during protests against Sterlite Industries, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) chief Vaiko on Wednesday visited the hospital and met people who were injured during a protest. Stalin and MNM founder Kamal Haasan demanded permanent closure of the plant.