Tuticorin death toll: Once again, police fails the crowd control test

Gwen Vasquez
May 23, 2018

Residents of the port city of Thootukudi, located at the tip of the Indian subcontinent, and environmentalists have been demonstrating for more than three months against the copper plant, one of India's biggest, alleging that it is a major source of pollution and a risk to fisheries. DMK leader K Kanimozhi said that the police shot even though the protesters were agitating peacefully. The state government and the district administration should also be blamed for failing to appreciate the depth of resentment among the people of Tuticorin to Sterlite's illegal and polluting operations and the betrayal by the state of its people.

Protesters who marched to the Thoothukudi Collectorate against the expansion of the Sterlite Copper plant owned by Vedanta Limited were stopped by barricades put up by the police. Tamil Nadu, is a brutal example of state-sponsored terrorism.

Gandhi tweeted: "The gunning down by the police of nine people in". These citizens were murdered for protesting against injustice.

Just as normalcy is yet to be restored in Thoothukudi district after the police firing which claimed many lives, the State government has directed the service providers to stop internet services for five days from Wednesday till May 27 throughout the districts of Thoothukudi, Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari, "to prevent spreading of provocative messages with half-truth". Smoke rose from several parts of the city.

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"Yes, the situation is tense but it is under control", a senior police officer said. Only that they wanted a cleaner environment?

In the notice to seeking replies from Chief Secretary and Director General of Police (DGP), the NHRC has sought reply on police firing within two weeks.

Vedanta says the protests are based on "false allegations", and that it plans to double capacity at the smelter to 800,000 tonnes per year.

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