Madras HC stays expansion of Sterlite copper plant

11 people including a teenager were killed in anti Sterlite protest in Tuticorin on Tuesday

11 people including a teenager were killed in anti Sterlite protest in Tuticorin on Tuesday

Most people stayed indoors as the district administration announced that prohibitory orders banning the assembly of five or more people that were imposed on Monday evening would remain in force till May 25.

Local Minister D. Jayakumar Tuesday told the media that the police resorted to firing after the protestors suddenly went on a rampage, vandalizing government property and offices.

"Vedanta shall cease construction and all other activities on-site proposed Unit-II of the Copper Smelting Plant at Tuticorin (Thoothukudi) with immediate effect", the order from the Madras high court said. Palaniswami, however, defended the police action and said that the circumstances forced police to take the extreme step.

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Dr A Edwin Joe, Director of Medical Education, Tamil Nadu, said at least 42 people have hospitalised till now, with a few transferred to Tirunelveli medical college to reduce congestion.

Protesters have been demanding the closure of Vedanta's Sterlite Copper unit in Tuticorin over pollution concerns. "Sterlite Copper plant is non-operational as we await approval for the consent to operate", the statement read.

The locals are up in arms against the construction of the copper plant, claiming that the plant would pollute groundwater in their area, and causing serious environmental hazards.

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"They have been protesting for 100 days even while planning strategies to escalate the temperature and decibels; yet cops seem to have lost their ears-and-eyes in the dustbin of political espionage", quipped a one-time cop.

"A recent survey shows that maximum protests happen in Tamil Nadu".

The Tamil Nadu government has come under severe attack by the Opposition over the incident.

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"The gunning down by the police of nine people in the Sterlite protest in Tamil Nadu is a brutal example of state-sponsored terrorism". These citizens were murdered for protesting against injustice. As the violence spiralled, police opened fire, killing nine people.

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