The interim report on Thoothukkudi riots establishes that anti-national and secessionist elements guided by Church missionaries have been spreading unrest
TS Venkatesan, Chennai
An interim report on Thoothukkudi riots in which 13 persons were killed after the demonstrators went on a rampage, has concluded that this agitation was not limited to Ban Sterlite but it was an opportunity for anti-national and secessionist elements to further their ulterior agenda. From the Jallikkattu agitation, these forces have been relentlessly trying to create a massive riot with huge loss of lives so as to turn the public ire against the Government and to further their divisive agenda of secessionism, says the report.
The agitation to ban Sterlite had been going on for more than 22 years. The successive Governments in Tamil Nadu gave clearances to this copper smelting unit which was mired in controversies in many states before its operation started in 1996 at Thoothukudy. This controversial plant was a money spinner for many politicians, government officials, civil society groups and Church priests for long. The protests against this plant, however, were peaceful throughout and whatever legal or departmental action against the wrongdoings of this plant is the result of this peaceful protest.
After the demise of Chief Minister Ms.J.Jayalalitha in December 2016, the state administration came to a standstill. Sensing this opportunity, anti-national and anti-social elements backed by foreign forces and political parties with vested interest started instigating the people to resort to violence and raise secessionist demands. The grand display of this nefarious design started from the state-wide Jallikkattu protest in January 2017 in the famous Marina Beach in Chennai which was besieged for three days. The demand for legislation for the conduct of Jallikkattu was out shadowed by demands for separate Tamil Nadu, separate Tamil Ealam etc. This protest ended with violent Police action after a section of the protestors affiliated to Left Wing Extremist (LWE) organisations, Muslim fundamentalists organisations and Tamil secessionists (TS) outfits refused to vacate the protest venue even after Government legislated a bill to conduct Jallikkattu.
It is proved time and again, that the influence of Left Wing Extremist (LWE) organisations, Muslim fundamentalists organisations and Tamil secessionists (TS) organisations are prevalent in the genesis, conduct and guidance of all these movements assisted by the Churches of all denominations. The involvement of foreign hand in protest against the Nuclear Power plant at Koodankulam in Thirunelveli District was admitted by the then Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh in February 2012 as he said that “The NGOs in Thirunelveli and Thoothukudi district are receiving funds from Organisations based in the United States of America and Scandinavian countries. The money was channelled mainly through the church-based NGOs namely Tuticorin Diocese Association and Tuticorin Multipurpose Social Service Society”.
After the devastating Occhi cyclone, the Church organised massive protests across Kanyakumari district demanding increased compensation for the victims and condemning the Modi-led Central Government for failing in relief and rescue operations. The protesters squatted on railway tracks at Kuzhithurai Railway Station for an entire day in which all opposition MLAs participated. It is to be noted that 5 out of 6 MLAs in Kanyakumari District are Christians. It is reliably learnt that Kottar Diocese Association and Kottar Social Service Society are the NGOs funding these activities.. Apart from these organisations, Mr.Jagath Gaspar of Tamil Maiyam is funding these protests. He conducted one fund raising event for Okchi cyclone victims on the 18th of February 2018 at SBIOA school campus Anna Nagar.
Mr. Jagath Gaspar, who funded the Anti- Koodankulam Nuclear Power Movement and funded the Church to instigate Fishermen to resort to violence over the issue of Okchi cyclone relief and Opposition to Colachel-Enayam-Kanyakumari trans-shipment terminal, funded the Sterlite agitation too. Mr. Jagath Gaspar has initiated the formation of WhatsApp groups to mobilise public opinion and funds in the name of Ban Sterlite Supporters. Incidentally, all these groups are created through a USA number and Mr.Jagath Gaspar is an admin in one such group.
The infiltration of LWE organisations in the Ban Sterlite movement is recorded from the 10th day after the commencement of the agitation in January 2018. The involvement of Ari Raghavan, Vanchinathan and Ramachandran belonging to the LWE organisation Makkal Athikaram was vividly narrated in the Tamil magazine ‘Kumudam Reporter’ in May 2018. The Magazine further recorded the hurling of petrol bomb on the Sterlite Plant and recorded the statement of the Police that more than 100 Naxals had infiltrated the movement.
The process of creating mistrust in the minds of the villagers against the Government is widespread as the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) organisations are fanned across all the villages around Thoothukkudi. A villager from Milavittan objected to the rising of anti-India, anti- Modi slogans in a meeting organised to mobilise people in support of the Ban Sterlite movement by some outsiders. The villager further states that the members of Makkal Athikaram suggested to the villagers that they can set on fire the office of the Village Administrator Officer as a mark of protest.
In a mobilisation meeting organised in the village of Pandarampatti, under the banner of Anti-Sterlite Thoothukudi District People’s Confederation, one woman activist was inciting the mob to attack the police and besiege the Collector’s office. This video was widely circulated on the Internet. Subsequently, the police filed a case against her as she was also seen in the company of pro- Tamil separatist activists in other agitations such as Go-Back Modi and Ban IPL in Chennai
Churches in Forefront
Samarendra Dhas, a person belonging to the Foil Vedanta group from London, visited Thoothukudi and addressed a secret meeting in the month of February/ March in which the leaders of the Ban Sterlite Movement participated. Samartendra Dhas ensured all possible help to the protestors and a person from Orissa too participated in the meeting. It is believed that Church of England, once an investor in Vedanta, is sponsoring the group ‘Foil Vedanta’ .This evidently shows that this movement is governed by International Organisations too.
The above mentioned Deccan Chronicle article further states that Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangangalin Peramaippu, (Federation of Tamil Nadu traders’ associations) have stayed clear of it and even welcomed the company’s proposal to double the capacity of its copper smelting plant to eight lakh tonnes per annum as it would lead to regional industrial growth, all-round economic development and increased employment opportunities. In the month of May, the traders of Thoothukudi switched sides and they represented the Ban Sterlite Movement in peace talks. It is to be noted that out of 64 trader’s Unions, 34 organisations are led by Christians. It is reliably learnt that the Church based organisations played a vital role to turn around the Trader’s Unions to oppose Sterlite.
Apart from International Christian organisations, all church denominations in Thoothukkudi and adjoining districts participated in this Ban-Sterlite movement. This was confessed by an evangelist Mr. Mohan C.Lazrus. Mr.Mohan C.Lazrus started his career as an humble evangelist and his day to day expenses were foot in by the local parishioners but he is worth thousands of crores in a short span of 20 years!. He is a central figure in the hate Modi campaign and in his huge evangelical meetings attended by thousands of People, he spews venom against Hinduism in general and BJP/RSS in particular and exhorts his followers to pray for the downfall of Modi, Yogi Adityanath and BJP. In one such meeting, he declared that churches of all denominations have taken up this Anti-Sterlite issue (Annexure XX) and it is learnt that Mr.Mohan C.Lazrus is another funding source as most of his revenue is generated within the country and it is easy for him to evade the enforcement authorities.
From the above incidents, it is amply evident that this Ban Sterlite movement has got ulterior motive to create anarchy and lawlessness to destabilise the Nation. In this context, it is pertaining to note that the earlier attempts of the organisation Makkal Athikaram to create mammoth riots were foiled by the police in the nearby Kanyakumari District in December 2017. 6 activists of Makkal Athikaram namely Kingson, Maruthu Ganesan, Mohammed Anis, Aathi, Marimuthu and Anbu were arrested from the fishing hamlet of Neerodi for inciting and planning riots.
It is to be recalled at this juncture that soon after Mr.Udhayakumar, the organiser of People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, who spear-headed the Anti-Koodankulam protest, was exposed for receiving illegal funds from overseas by the Republic TV, he admitted that he is working for a separate nationhood for Tamil Nadu and his response was greeted with applause by the Church and separatist groups.
In Tamil Nadu, during the commissioning month of Koodankulam Atomic Power Plant i.e. October 2013, a Sierra-Leone flagged US-based company vessel MV Seaman Guard Ohio was intercepted by Indian Coast Guard Vessel and escorted to Thoothukudi port on October 12, 2013, for illegally entering into Indian waters. A total of 35 sea farers, 12 Indians and 23 Foreigners were arrested with 35 Fire arms, 102 Magazines and 5682 rounds of ammunition. They were sentenced to 5 Year Rigorous Imprisonment by the Thoothukudi Sessions Court in January 2016
A confederation of many village organisations, Church organisations and Merchants associations under the banner of ‘Ban Sterlite movement’, planned to conduct a rally towards the copper smelting unit Sterlite Copper in May. The protestors demanded the closure of the unit for long and the present
agitation is to mark the 100th day of the new spell of agitation started under the banner of Thoothukudi District Anti Sterlite Peoples’ Confederation seeking permanent closure of this plant.
The District administration denied permission and invited the organisers for a peace meeting in which the District Collector requested the organisers to drop the proposal of marching up to Sterlite as the plant was shut down and then the protestors demanded that they should be allowed to march till the District Collector’s office, which too the Collector denied. The Collector suggested them to hold a token
agitation near old Bus stand and the Merchant Association along with Ms. Fathima Babu, a College lecturer, who was coordinating this movement agreed.
As a precautionary measure, the Police clamped 144 Cr.PC to prevent untoward incidents yet widespread arson and violence took place. The police was attacked and government properties were vandalised. Thoothukudi SIPCOT from 10 PM on May 21st to 8 AM on May 23rd (Annexure I). It is reliably learnt that the Anti Sterlite movement on the 21st Night removed Ms. Fathima Babu and the representatives of the Merchants’ Association from the Ban Sterlite Movement and announced that they will proceed with their programme to besiege the District Collector’s office.
Meanwhile, a section of rioters entered the Collector’s office complex and started torching the vehicles and damaged the glass panes of the office. The police then rushed to the spot and resorted to Lathi charge to disperse the arsonists. The arsonists again regrouped and started attacking the policemen. The Police tried all means to control the arsonists and finally were forced to open fire to disperse the rampaging crowd. Even after this firing, a section of the crowd held fort inside the collector’s office complex and the police resorted to lathi-charge to bring the district administrative headquarters under control. The district administrative headquarters of Thoothukudi district was taken over by the police from the hands of the arsonists.
A group of arsonists were damaging the surveillance cameras installed in the Threspuram area. A police party on patrol headed by Thirunelveli Police Superintend Dr Arun Sakthi kumar intervening to prevent this hooliganism, but was attacked and the police opened fire on the unruly mob in which one woman was killed.
Mr Sandeep Nanduri, the new District collector, who took charge on 24th, confirms that 13 people died in Police firing and 19 are in critical condition and 14 persons with gunshot injuries. Apart from 13 deaths, 102 persons sustained injuries in this riot.