Five feared killed and more than 20 people injured as anti-Sterlite protests turn violent in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu
Otherwise calm Tuticorin coastal belt has become a battleground today when the months-long protest, demanding the closure of Vedanta"s Sterlite Copper unit, here took a violent turn on Tuesday (May 22) with agitators pelting stones and toppling police vehicles after they were prevented from marching towards the plant. To provide security to it, as per the orders of the Madras High Court 144of CrPc has been invoked in and around the Sterlite unit.
Several shops in this town, Srivaikundam and Oddapidaram remained shut in support of the protest. Tuticorin district has been witnessing several protests by locals and others against the Sterlite Copper plant here and its proposed expansion. Protesters not happy over not being allowed to take out a rally, the slogan-shouting protesters forcibly tried to push back the security personnel in riot gear. They then started hurling stones at police and also overturned a vehicle after which the security personnel lobbed teargas shells to disperse them, they said. While more than 20 people suffered minor injuries in stone-pelting incident, some vehicles were set on fire, leading to tension in the area, they added. As per the reports, At least five people are feared dead. Sterlite Copper represents the copper unit of Vedanta and operates a 400,000 tonnes per annum-plant in Tuticorin.
Vaiko"s MDMK and some Tamil outfits have been instigating people to protest against the unit. He has been waging a war in courts for the closure the unit saying it creates havoc to the environment.