New Delhi, May 23: National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary and Director general of police (DGP) over police firing during the anti-Sterlite protest in Thoothukudi that claimed 11 lives. The Commission has also given them two weeks to submit their report. Earlier, the Madras High Court also stayed further construction of production of copper smelter at the Sterlite unit in Thoothukudi.
The Home Ministry had also asked the state government to file its report following reports of 11 deaths in the police-protester clash on Tuesday. ANI said more than 65 people were injured in the clashes. The protest had been going on for months and turned violent on Tuesday when protestors were not allowed to march up to the plant. Agitated protestors then started to pelt stones and toppled police vehicles. They also reportedly ghearoed the Collector’s office and torched vehicles there.
Police then resorted to lathicharge and tear gas to disperse the crowd. Reports also said they were seen armed with assault rifles and the deaths were attributed to police firing. Actor Rajnikanth also took to Twitter and slammed the AIADMK. He said, “Tamil Nadu Government’s inaction is responsible for the violence in Tuticorin. Tamil Nadu Government should take the responsibility for the loss of life, and violence in Tuticorin.”
Tuticorin witnessed several protests by locals and others against the Sterlite Copper plant and its proposed expansion. Protesters alleged that the plant was polluting groundwater in their area.