Protest against Sterlite turns violent, 3 killed, many injured

At least three people have reportedly died, as the police opened fire on protestors at Thoothukudi, today. Many were injured, and the Collectorate was seen in flames.

The months-long protest demanding closure of Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper unit took a violent turn today with agitators pelting stones and toppling police vehicles after they were prevented from marching towards the plant.

Police said section 144 of CrPc has been invoked in and around the Sterlite unit to provide security to it as per the orders of the Madras High Court.

Two-wheelers were set on fire by the protestors, stones were hurled at the police that saw the cops flee the scene. Having been outnumbered, the police tried to use tear gas on people but in vain. They had no other option than to leave the spot as a raging crowd were seen increasing number as time passed.

The district has been witnessing several protests by locals and others against the Sterlite Copper plant here and its proposed expansion. Several shops in this town, Srivaikundam and Oddapidaram remained shut in support of the protest.

Earlier, the protesters split apart as they had a difference in opinion. While a group of protesters from various villages, including Kumareddiyapuram had decided to launch the besiege protest at Collectorate, a section of traders were planning to organise a protest demonstration on SAV school grounds. The police had granted permission to hold a demonstration on the school grounds.