Activists claim it has led to respiratory and skin problems, fainting and other illness, especially among children. The plant releases its waste into the sensitive Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve, an area of coral reefs and mangrove forests, the protesters claim.
Relatives of those killed Tuesday, meanwhile, refused to claim the bodies, saying they would do so only after the copper smelter was shut and murder charges registered against those involved in the firing.
Anti-Sterlite protest: Protesters at the site have cited pollution from the copper plant, including issues relating to disposal of copper waste and effluents from the operational unit, demanding its permanent closure.
Protests have been on since 1999 with residents demanding the closure of the Sterlite copper smelter. Word was awaited from the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court on a petition seeking closure of the plant.