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Anti-Sterlite protest highlights: Vedanta chairman says company wants to restart operations with community support

Anti-Sterlite protests LIVE: The agitation against Sterlite Copper escalated after Vedanta Limited announced the expansion of its unit in Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin. Follow this space to track all the latest developments

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: June 18, 2018 11:46:38 am
Vedanta Chairman Anil Agarwal expressed his sorrow over the ‘unfortunate’ deaths in Tuticorin. (Screengrab/Twitter/@AnilAgarwal_Ved)

A day after 12 people were killed in clashes with security forces in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister EK Palaniswami on Thursday defended the police. “When someone hits you, you naturally tend to defend yourselves. so on such situations, no one acts in a pre-planned manner,” he wrote on Twitter. He also accused political parties of “misguiding protesters.” Nine were also critically injured in the clashes that broke out between police and locals who are protesting against the industrial plant.

DMK leader Stalin, meanwhile,  who was holding a protest outside Tamil Nadu secretariat, has been detained by the police. Several other leaders were detained too. The DMK and other Opposition parties in the state have also called for a dawn-to-dusk bandh on May 25, condemning the police action against protestors.

A Commission of Inquiry headed by retired Madras High Court judge Aruna Jagadeesan has also been constituted to probe circumstances leading to firing. The Centre and NHRC have also sought a report over the violence. Internet services in Tuticorin and adjoining districts of Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari have been suspended till May 27 to prevent spread of rumours through social media.

Read | Sterlite protests: All that has happened so far

Live Blog

Anti-sterlite protests in Tamil Nadu took a violent turn after police opened fire on protesters on Tuesday. Follow LIVE UPDATES


    19:35 (IST)24 May 2018
    Death toll at 13, including 11 men and 2 women: IG Shailesh Kumar

    "A total of 13 people have died, including 11 men and women, 102 people have been injured out of which 19 are severe cases. Vehicles worth Rs 1 crore 27 lakh have been burnt down," ANI quoted Shailesh Kumar, IG (South Range) as saying.

    19:34 (IST)24 May 2018
    Cutting-off elecgtricity, want to shut down plant: District Collector
    18:39 (IST)24 May 2018
    Meeting of 'Consultative Committee for Peace Restoration in Thoothukudi' underway
    18:38 (IST)24 May 2018
    ATMs and vehicles vandalised, set ablaze
    18:03 (IST)24 May 2018
    Vedanta chief says company wants to restart operations with community support

    Describing the loss of 12 lives in violent protests in Tuticorin as “unfortunate”, Vedanta Chairman Anil Agarwal Thursday said Sterlite Copper would like to continue operations at the compnay’s plant with support from the community.

    In a video message on Twitter, Agarwal claimed that the company strictly abide by the rules when it came to following anti-pollution norms. “I am very sad to hear the incident… This was absolutely unfortunate. My full sympathy is with the families (of the deceased),” Agarwal said. 

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    17:28 (IST)24 May 2018
    Vedanta Chairman expresses sorrow over deaths in Tuticorin
    17:17 (IST)24 May 2018
    TTV Dinakaran visits those injured in Police firing
    16:22 (IST)24 May 2018
    Electricity supply to Sterlite industries cut off: Official
    16:21 (IST)24 May 2018
    Arrests have been made in the case: Collector

    Thoothukudi Collector Sandeep Nanduri said, "65 people have been arrested and remanded for indulging in violence during anti-Sterlite protests in Thoothukudi. Another 68 people have been arrested and will be produced in front of the magistrate for causing damage to public property and indulging in violence."

    16:18 (IST)24 May 2018
    SC lawyer files petition seeking investigation

    Supreme Court lawyer G S Mani filed a writ petition seeking registration of FIR and investigation by the CBI against Thoothukudi Collector, SP and other police officials, ANI reported

    16:16 (IST)24 May 2018
    Protests in Chennai against killings in Thoothukudi

    Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi (TVK) held a protest in Chennai condemning the police firing during protests in Thoothukudi that lead to death of 12 people.

    16:06 (IST)24 May 2018
    Govt officials hold meeting, dicuss ways to bring normalcy to Thoothukudi
    14:02 (IST)24 May 2018
    Fight will not stop till CM and DGP resign: Stalin

    "The TN Govt has been unable to give answers to #TuticorinMassacre. We will ensure the protestors' and peoples' voices from Tuticorin are heard in Chennai. Our fight against this #IncompetentEPS Govt will NOT stop till the resignations of the CM and DGP," DMK leader Stalin who was detained earlier this morning said.

    13:21 (IST)24 May 2018
    When someone hits you, you naturally tend to defend yourselves: CM Palaniswami, accuses Opposition of 'misguiding protesters'

    Defending the police action against protesters, Tamil Nadu CM Palaniswami said, "When someone hits you, you naturally tend to defend yourselves. so on such situations, no one acts in a pre-planned manner." Accusing political parties of "misguiding the protesters" he said, " Some anti-social elements intruded into the agitation on May 22 and attacked the police, torched the police vehicles. Under tense situation, police resorted to firing and the firing was not pre-planned."

    He also added that the Tamil Nadu government has been addressing the issue through legal means. "State government continues to respect views of people on Sterlite issue. Opposition parties instigating innocent people to agitate. Thoothukudi administrators met agitators 14 times about govt stand. TN pollution control board didn't renew license for Sterlite," he wrote on Twitter.

    13:11 (IST)24 May 2018
    First priority to bring back normalcy in Tuticorin: District Collector

    Sandeep Nanduri who took over as Thoothukudi's District Collector said his first priority would be to bring normalcy in Tuticorin. "As far as the violence, the shooting and who gave the orders for the shooting is concerned, an inquiry will be done by a judge appointed by the Tamil Nadu govt," he said, reported ANI. Sandeep had replaced N Venkatesh, while Murali Rambha took charge as district police chief

    13:06 (IST)24 May 2018
    Rajnath Singh calls for peace in Tuticorin

    Home Minister Rajnath Singh condoled the death of the protesters in Tuticorin and asked people to maintain peace. "I am deeply pained at the loss of precious lives during the agitation at Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu. The MHA has taken cognisance of the situation and sought a report on the incident and the prevailing situation from the state government. My thoughts are with bereaved families. I also pray for the speedy recovery of the injured. I appeal to the people in Tuticorin to remain calm and maintain peace and tranquility in the region," he wrote on Twitter

    12:58 (IST)24 May 2018
    Why are people protesting against Sterlite copper plant in Tuticorin?

    The Sterlite protest had entered its 100th day on Tuesday, when things turned violent. In March, the residents in and around the plant conducted peaceful demonstrations at the Chidambaram Nagar bus stand in the district demanding the closure of the factory. Claiming that the water in the area has been contaminated due to the plant’s operations, the residents said that they were facing health issues. Some activists have said that the plant is posing a grave danger to the residents of the area as reports have suggested that throat and eye cancer cases have gone up in the area.

    Read | Why people want Vedanta plant closed?

    12:05 (IST)24 May 2018
    Tamil Nadu police detain MK Stalin

    DMK leader MK Stalin, who was staging a protest outside Assembly, was detained by the Tamil Nadu police today. Slamming the police action, Stalin has demanded the resignation of Chief Minister K Palaniswami and state police chief T K Rajendran.

    11:53 (IST)24 May 2018
    Opposition stages protest outside Tamil Nadu secretariat

    DMK Working President MK Stalin and other party leaders stage a protest outside Tamil Nadu secretariat over the violence during Anti-Sterlite protests in Tuticorin

    11:48 (IST)24 May 2018
    DMK chief says CM Palaniswami has become 'ineffective,' demands resignation

    Attacking "ineffective" Chief Minister Palaniswami over Tuticorin violence, DMK chief Stalin demanded his resignation. "Even after death of 12 innocent people, no action has been taken against the culprits. CM has become ineffective. He did not bother to visit the dist & meet the people. Therefore, we demand that CM must resign immediately, DGP Rajendran must resign too," MK Stalin said, reported ANI.

    On Wednesday, Stalin called the police action, a "mass murder of innocent people" and questioned the police firing. "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 wrote on Twitter.

    He further tweeted, “Where does the final accountability lie for the brutal murder of at least 11 Tamils? Will @CMOTamilNadu take action against DGP for failing to maintain law and order? Will Chief Secretary explain her role in this entire episode? Will there be justice for #SterliteProtest?”

    11:14 (IST)24 May 2018
    'What next? excommunicate Tamilnadu?' Kamal Haasan on suspending internet services in Tuticorin

    Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan slammed the govt for suspending internet services in Tuticorin and adjoining districts. "Internet connection cut in Thooththukkudi? Alarming! What next? excommunicate Tamilnadu? TN would see an uprising, much bigger than any, in its history. No Government is strong enough to take on the might of my people," he tweeted

    11:09 (IST)24 May 2018
    Opposition calls for bandh tomorrow, says Tamilians angered by police action

    The DMK and other Opposition parties have called for a dawn-to-dusk bandh tomorrow, to protest against the violence in Tuticorin. The DMK, the All India National Congress, the Dravidar Kazhagam, the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the CPI, the CPI(M), the Indian Union Muslim League, the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi and the Manithaneya Makkal Katchi will participate in the day-long state-wide protest," DMK's release said. "The bandh will also reflect the feelings of Tamils."

    10:12 (IST)24 May 2018
    Ghulam Nabi Azad condemns Tuticorin violence, calls it 'massacre'

    "State govt knew that this being 100th day of agitation, it's going to be bigger. They should've made better arrangements to maintain law & order but nothing was done. They simply resorted to firing. It was a massacre, almost like Jallianwala Bagh," Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said, reported ANI

    10:10 (IST)24 May 2018
    Power supply to Sterlite copper unit disconnected

    Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board has ordered the closure of Sterlite Copper Smelter plant in Thoothukudi with immediate effect and disconnected the power supply to the unit on Thursday. The board found that the unit was 'carrying out activities to resume production' despite being told not to do so until its licence to operate is renewed. In its order, the Board said that during its inspections on May 18 and 19, it found that the unit was 'carrying out activities to resume production' despite being told not to do so until its licence to operate is renewed. The board ordered the closure of the unit and disconnected the power supply under Section 33A of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, and Section 31A of Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1971.

    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. 

    09:35 (IST)24 May 2018
    No fresh protests reported overnight

    No fresh protest has been reported overnight, ANI reported. However, police have been deployed in large numbers in the sensitive coastal areas in order to avoid any flare up. 

    09:20 (IST)24 May 2018
    Tensions simmer after video purportedly shows police beating protester

    Enraged over videos purportedly showing a police beating a protester and personnel taking aim and firing on Tuesday, the protesters hit the streets on Wednesday and attacked police with stones, set two buses on fire and also tried to storm into a hospital where injured were kept.

    The beating of a 22-year-old man, identified as Kaliappan, was purportedly captured on camera by a mediaperson. Visuals show the youth lying on the road with a group of policemen beating him and purportedly asking him to “stop acting” and get up. Both police and protesters were injured in the clashes on Wednesday.

    Police said they were probing the role of a radical Left organisation in the protests and added that they had shifted their own personnel, whose faces are visible in the video clips being circulated, and their families out of the city.

    09:09 (IST)24 May 2018

    Welcome to the live blog. Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin has been on a boil after 12 people were killed in police firing during protests against a Sterlite copper plant. Follow this space to track all the latest developments

    Protesters demanding the closure of the Vedanta unit in Tuticorin hit the streets again Wednesday. (PTI Photo)

    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. The Madras High Court has directed the government to preserve the bodies until further orders. The residents have been protesting against the plant over pollution concerns since 100 days. Cited pollution from the copper plant, including issues relating to disposal of copper waste and effluents from the operational unit, the residents demanding its permanent closure.

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