New Delhi, June 1: The Madras High Court on Friday pulled up the Tamil Nadu government and asked it to explain the circumstances that lead to police firing in Thoothukudi or Tuticorin city during the anti-Sterlite protests. The high court also sought a reply from the state government by June 6. The HC had earlier stayed an order on the construction of Vedanta Ltd’s Copper Smelter Plant 2 at Tuticorin. The court had also issued a notice to the CBI seeking a probe into the police firing in Tuticorin.

The development comes a few days after the state government issued orders to close down the copper smelter plant, a week after 13 people were killed in police firing during protests against the continued functioning of the unit.

The residents of Thoothukudi demanded the closure of the Sterlite Copper smelter plant saying that it was destroying the farm lands, environment and leading to severe health issues in the area. The protest took a violent turn when police opened fire on the protesters which killed 13 people and left at least 102 injured.

“A total of 13 people have died, including 11 men and 2 women. 102 people have been injured out of which 19 are severe cases. Vehicles worth Rs 1 crore 27 lakh have been burnt down,” said Shailesh Kumar, IG (South Range) told ANI. District Collector also said that the electricity supply to Sterlite Industries was cut off. 67 people have been arrested for indulging in violence. Public transport and Internet services were also temporarily shut down in Thoothukudi, which were restored on May 27.

Following a week of anti-Sterlite protest, normalcy in Thoothukudi was restored. “Normalcy has been restored in the city and the district. We have not noticed any unusual incident in the city in last 24 hrs. However, we have come across some incidents in the rural areas and we are reviewing the situations,” Thoothukudi District Collector Nanduri told ANI.

On Thursday, actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth announced Rs 2 Lakh compensation to the families of those killed in police firing during the anti-Sterlite protest. “I don’t want to comment more on it, but the government needs to be careful as the people are watching, it was a huge mistake and a big lesson. I announce Rs 2 lakh each for the kin of victims who died in the protest,” ANI quoted him as saying.