New Delhi: A year has gone by since the anti-sterlite protests against the polluting smelter in the port city of Thoothukoodi, Tamil Nadu, killed 13 people in a police encounter as they sought closure of the Sterlite copper smelter.
Several organisations decided to hold rallies to mark the anniversary of one of the deadliest environmental protests of the decade. Extra precautions are being taken by the state authorities as well as security forces as the day comes a day prior to the results of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019.
While the protests successfully shut down the industrial giant Vedanta Group’s Sterlite Copper industry that had broken all environmental laws, families of those killed and affected are still awaiting justice.
United Nations’ human rights experts had condemned the incident as an “apparent excessive and disproportionate use of lethal force by police”. No police officer has been arrested in connection with the shootings and the investigation team set up to look into the matter has provided no updates since.
Twitterati remember the massacre as hundreds of them tweeted out with the hashtag #WeRememberTuticorinMassacre.
Last year, this time more than 20,000 people had gathered from in and around the hardscrabble town of Thoothukoodi to democratically hold protests against the copper smelter that was destroying the environment, poisoning groundwater resources and drastically affecting their health.
On May 22, 2018, the police had opened fire at the protesters without warning killing at least 13 people and injuring over 100, fearing an attack by them on the government offices. On May 28, the copper plant was permanently shuttered owing to the ghastly violence.
The incident is still mired in great controversy as people have questioned the occurrence to be a possible tactic of the state-corporate nexus. Although state authorities have since shut down the copper plant, the Vedanta Group has been making immense attempts to reopen the smelter.