The Union Home Ministry has sought a report from the Tamil Nadu government on the circumstances leading to police firing on protesters demanding the closure of Vedanta group’s Sterlite Copper plant, which they claim had polluted ground water in the area.
Meanwhile, internet services have been suspended in Thoothukudi, Tirunelveli and Kanniyakumari districts for five days, following an order from Tamil Nadu home secretary.
At least 12 people have lost their lives and nine others were critically injured in police firing which took place as protests against Sterlite’s industrial plant intensified in Thoothukudi (Tuticorin).
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami has ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident and announced compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to the families of those who died.
Sandeep Nanduri, who was Tirunelveli collector, has taken charge as Thoothukudi collector and has replaced N Venkatesh. P Mahendran, the Thoothukudi superintendent of police, has also been transferred.
Tens of thousands of protestors had gathered near V.V.T. signal in Thoothukudi on the morning of May 22 for a rally towards the Collectorate, demanding that the Sterlite unit be closed. While the rally had been announced at least 20 days ago, the district collector N. Venkatesh had issued an order imposing section 144 the previous day.
DMK leader Stalin on Tuesday arrived at the general hospital in Tuticorin to meet the injured. Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba spoke to Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary inquiring about the violence in Tamil Nadu. The Central Forces have also been kept on standby to provide any assistance if required.