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Anti-Sterlite protests HIGHLIGHTS: Tamil Nadu govt orders suspension of internet services in Tuticorin, adjoining districts

Anti-Sterlite protests in Thoothukudi: At least 12 people have so far lost their lives in Tamil Nadu as protests against Sterlite's industrial plant intensifies in Tuticorin. Here is the latest news.

Heavy deployment of police personnel in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu, as hundreds of residents and activists stage an anti-Sterlite protest on Tuesday (Source: ANI)

At least 12 people have lost their lives and nine others were critically injured in police firing which took place as protests against Sterlite’s industrial plant intensified in Thoothukudi (Tuticorin). Residents have been demanding the closure of the plant, citing that the pollution it generates is causing serious health issues. The agitation against Sterlite Copper, which represents the copper unit of Vedanta Limited, recently escalated after the company announced the expansion of its unit in the city. Sterlite Copper, which currently operates a 400,000-tonne per annum unit in the city, maintains it has received necessary permits and has not violated any norms.

The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court, in an interim order, stayed the expansion of Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper’s industrial unit on Tuesday. The bench insisted that the company seeks public consultation before expanding its plant.

Read this story in Tamil, Malayalam

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami on Tuesday ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident and announced compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to the families of those who died.

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Anti-Sterlite protests: Security is heightened in Tuticorin a day after 11 people were killed in police firing. Here is the latest news.

10:39 (IST)24 May 2018
Over to the new blog

To track all the latest developments from Tuticorin on Thursday, follow this 

21:43 (IST)23 May 2018
Protest in Delhi against killings in Tuticorin

Citizens' groups and students in Delhi also protested against the killing of anti-sterlite plant agitators in Tuticorin. The protest, aimed at condemning the death of 12 people in police firing, was staged outside Tamil Nadu Bhawan at Chanakyapuri on Wednesday. The protestors raised slogans and demanded parleys with the Principal Resident Commissioner of Tamil Nadu, Jasbir Singh Bajaj.

21:29 (IST)23 May 2018
Tamil Nadu police was shockingly underprepared to peacefully control protests: Amnesty International India

Amnesty International India also condemned the excessive use of force by the Tamil Nadu police on the anti-sterlite protestors, saying that it is a "damning indictment" of the state government's determination to crush the protests and cannot be justified. Abhirr VP, Senior Campaigner, Amnesty International India said the Tamil Nadu police was shockingly underprepared to peacefully control protests of this magnitude.

"Despite knowing there would be a massive protest on Tuesday, the state police did little to implement crowd control measures that would have avoided the need to resort to force. This could have prevented the death of protestors," Abhirr told PTI

21:26 (IST)23 May 2018
Centre for Science and Environment appeals for decontamination of site

Centre for Science and Environment, a green body, condemning the death of anti-Sterlite protestors in Tuticorin, said the current situation is a reflection of 'complete failure' of environment governance in the country. CSE appealed to the government to look into the interests of the people and suggested shutting down the plant. It also proposed that a plan be put in place to decontaminate the site and the surrounding environment.

21:15 (IST)23 May 2018
TN Governor cancels stay in Nilgiris, returns to Chennai

Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, who is in Nilgiris district, today cut short his stay and is returning to Chennai in view of the situation at Tuticorin, PTI reported. Purohit, along with his family, had gone to Udhagamandalam on May 21 to take part in the valedictory of the annual flower show on May 22.

21:12 (IST)23 May 2018
Thoothukudi SP, Collector transfered
21:09 (IST)23 May 2018
Provocative messages being shared on social media: Govt notice to internet service providers

The state government, in its notice to the service providers ordering the suspension of internet, said "provocative messages are spread in social media violently with half truth and anti-social elements are trying to exploit the situation.'' It further read, "a public emergency has arisen which necessitates immediate action and speedy remedy for the public tranquility" and justified the need to block the internet services saying, "it felt necessary that services of internet should be stopped/curtailed to prevent spreading of such information, rumours with half truth."

19:46 (IST)23 May 2018
Vedanta urges TN govt to ensure employees safety

Vedanta Ltd on Wednesday urged the government to ensure safety and security of employees at its copper smelter facility at Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu while expressing "regret and sorrow" over incidents of people being killed during protests. The Thootukudi copper smelter at Tutico0rin is run by Vedanta Ltd's Sterlite Copper unit where 12 people have been killed in police firing in response to protests against the plant's expansion on fears of rising pollution.

19:04 (IST)23 May 2018
Tamil Nadu govt orders suspension of internet inThoothukudi

Tamil Nadu government ordered the suspension of internet in Kanyakumari, Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli districts. The home secretary asked service providers to block internet, in a move aimed at preventing rumours from spreading in the violence-hit region.

18:01 (IST)23 May 2018
Anti-sterlite protests in Tuticorin continues
16:51 (IST)23 May 2018
CPI(M) protests in Tuticorin
16:30 (IST)23 May 2018
Madras HC orders to preserve bodies of those killed in Tuticorin
16:28 (IST)23 May 2018
MK Stalin had visited those injured in Tuticorin police firing
15:42 (IST)23 May 2018
Death toll rises to 12 as 23-year-old shot in Tuticorin

Another death has been reported in Tuticorin which continues to face violence. Kaliappan, 23-year-old, was allegedly killed in the police firing which took place after a group of youths pelted stones at SP's vehicle.(Express photo)

15:36 (IST)23 May 2018
CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury condemns deaths in Tuticorin
15:24 (IST)23 May 2018
Actor Prakash Raj condemns the violence in Tuticorin
15:21 (IST)23 May 2018
People's apprehensions genuine, shut down plant: CPI(M)

"The protests arose because of the inadequate response of the state administration to the genuine apprehensions of the people concerning air, water and ground contamination. The Politburo demands that plant should be shut down immediately. The state government should hold talks with all stake-holders," the party said in its statement.

15:17 (IST)23 May 2018
CPI(M) demands probe in police 'brutality' and 'merciless shooting'

The CPI(M) on Wednesday demanded the immediate shut down of Sterlite Copper plant in Tuticorin. The Left party condemned the police firing on protesters in which 10 people were killed. The party said the "brutality" of the state police is revealed in the fact that many of those killed and injured have bullet injuries in their heads and faces.

The CPI(M) has demanded that all those responsible for this "merciless shooting" down of protesters be held accountable and immediate legal proceedings initiated against them. The enquiry announced to probe these brutal killings should be headed by a sitting judge of the Madras High Court, it said.

14:58 (IST)23 May 2018
Central Forces on standby

Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba spoke to Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary inquiring about the violence in Tamil Nadu. The Central Forces have also been kept on standby to provide any assistance if required

14:26 (IST)23 May 2018
Security tightened outside Tuticorin's General Hospital
13:59 (IST)23 May 2018
Bus set on fire in Tuticorin

Protesters have set ablaze a bus in Tuticorin. The incident has taken place outside the General Hospital where several, who were wounded in the protests yesterday, are being treated, reports ANI.

(Source: ANI)

13:25 (IST)23 May 2018
13:21 (IST)23 May 2018
NHRC issues notice to Tamil Nadu police, seeks report within two weeks

The National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary and Director general of police (DGP) over police firing during anti-sterlite protest in Thoothukudi on Tuesday. 11 people died in the firing. The commission has asked the police to submit the report within two weeks

12:38 (IST)23 May 2018
TN govt appoints retired judge Aruna Jagadeesan to probe firing

Retired judge Aruna Jagadeesan has been appointed by the Tamil Nadu government to probe the Tuesday's police firing in Tuticorin. The state government had announced a judicial inquiry yesterday.

12:28 (IST)23 May 2018
Kamal Haasan meets wounded in Tuticorin

Kamal Haasan meets those wounded in protests at a local hospital in Tuticorin.

12:24 (IST)23 May 2018
DMK calls for all-party meet on May 25

The DMK has called for an all-party meeting on Friday over the anti-Sterlite protests. In a string of tweets this morning, DMK working president MK Stalin questioned the police firing that killed 11 people. 'Who ordered the police firing on protestors? Why were automatic weapons used to disperse the crowd and under what law is this permitted? Why were rubber/ plastic bullets or other means NOT used to avoid fatal injuries? Why was no warning given before firing?' he asked.

12:22 (IST)23 May 2018
CPI(M) stages protest in Coimbatore

Members of the CPI(M) are holding a protest in Coimbatore over the deaths of 11 people during the anti-Sterlite protests in Tuticorin.

12:08 (IST)23 May 2018
Will fight until the plant closes: Protester who fought the case in Madras HC

Fatima Babu, a retired professor who led the protests against the expansion of the plant for 25 years said that she will continue the fight until the final closure. She also fought the case in Madras HC against the expansion "Even if it is an interim stay, court ordered for public consultation within four months time for any further expansion. We welcome this order," she told The Indian Express. 

11:41 (IST)23 May 2018
Madurai bench stays expansion of Sterlite Copper in Tuticorin

The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court has stayed the expansion of Sterlite Copper's industrial unit in Tuticorin. The bench has also insisted that the company seeks public consultation before expanding further. Read full report here.

11:33 (IST)23 May 2018
Kamal Haasan arrives in Tuticorin to 'comfort' those wounded

Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan has arrived in Tuticorin. He is visiting those wounded in the protests at a local hospital to "comfort them". There are nearly 50 people admitted in hospital, reports ANI. Yesterday, his party Makkal Needhi Maiam had condemned the incident and demanded justice for the people the AIADMK-led Tamil Nadu government and the Centre.

11:24 (IST)23 May 2018
Vedanta shares at lowest since July 5, 2017

Vedanta shares are at a 10-month low. It was down as much as 5.50 per cent in morning session. The fall comes a day after at least 11 people were killed as residents of Tuticorin protested Sterlite Copper's industrial unit in Tuticorin. Sterlite is controlled by Vedanta, a majority-owned subsidiary of London-listed Vedanta Resources. 

11:19 (IST)23 May 2018
Home Ministry seeks report from TN govt

The Home Ministry has ordered the Tamil Nadu government to file a report on the incident yesterday, reports ANI.

10:53 (IST)23 May 2018
What is the case the Madras HC will deliver an order on?

The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court will deliver an interim order on a petition against the expansion of Sterlite Copper's industrial plant in Tuticorin. The company began operations in the coastal city nearly two decades ago, but in February this year announced expansion of the plant, entailing a doubling of the capacity of the smelter to 800,000 tonnes per year.

10:49 (IST)23 May 2018
Actors condemn deaths in Tuticorin

Several people from Kollywood have spoken out about the protests in Tuticorin yesterday. Actor Siddarath, for instance, called it a "dark day in our history" while Arvind Swamy said he was deeply saddened to hear of the deaths. Radikaa said she was shocked to hear of the incident.

10:43 (IST)23 May 2018
Subramanian Swamy targets P Chidambaram

MP Subramanian Swamy tweets on the Sterlite issue. He tells ANI that former finance minister P Chidambaram, who was a paid director in the company for many years, should answer questions on the issue. "All documents are available. He should now speak up on behalf of Sterlite," he adds.

10:23 (IST)23 May 2018
Madras HC to deliver interim order expansion of copper unit

The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court is expected to deliver an interim order on the ongoing construction of a new copper smelter by Sterlite industries in Tuticorin, reports ANI. The case pertains to the expansion of the plant, entailing a doubling of the capacity of the smelter to 800,000 tonnes per year.

10:18 (IST)23 May 2018
What is Sterlite Copper doing in TN?

The company has two units in Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin. It operates a 400,000 metric tonnes per annum (MTPA) copper smelter as well as a 160 MW coal-based power plant. Tuticorin, a coastal city, hosts one of the biggest ports in the country, aiding the company’s operations. Read more here.

10:10 (IST)23 May 2018
Will there be justice, asks M K Stalin

M K Stalin, DMK working president and Leader of Opposition, has questioned police action against the protesters in Tuticorin. Taking to Twitter this morning, he asks, "Who ordered the police firing on protestors? Why were automatic weapons used to disperse the crowd and under what law is this permitted? Why were rubber/ plastic bullets or other means NOT used to avoid fatal injuries? Why was no warning given before firing? #SterliteProtest"

10:01 (IST)23 May 2018
Leaders rush to Tuticorin

Several leaders are rushing to Tuticorin, a city around 600 kilometres south of Chennai, to visit families of the victims of police firing and speak to protesters. Among those who visited the city today s MDMK chief Vaiko. Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan, who heads Makkal Needhi Maiam, is also likely to visit the city today, reports ANI.

09:58 (IST)23 May 2018
Security heightened, Sec 144 remains imposed

A day after nine people were killed in police firing, security has been heightened in Tuticorin. Section 144, which prohibits assembly of more than 4 people, remains imposed in the area. Many commercial establishments in the city remain closed today.

Residents and activists protest against Sterlite Copper in Thoothukudi on Tuesday (Source: ANI)

The agitation against Sterlite Copper, which represents the copper unit of Vedanta Limited, escalated earlier this year after the company announced the expansion of its unit in the coastal city of Thoothukudi (Tuticorin) in Tamil Nadu. Residents have long demanded the closure of the plant citing health issues caused by the pollution the plant generates. Sterlite Copper, which currently operates a 400,000-tonne per annum unit in the city, maintains that it has received necessary permits and has not violated any norms.

First Published on: May 22, 2018 1:31:39 pm