Atleast 111 people were killed in police firing as they protested demanding the closure of a polluting unit of Sterlite Industries.A day after the securirty has been beefed upin Tamil Nadu’s coastal city of Tuticorin.
Security forces carried out a flag march in Thoothukudi area of the city on Wednesday as Section 144, which prohibits assembly of more than 4 people in an area, remains imposed in the area. Nearly 3000 police personnel have been deployed under four Additional Superintendents of Police and 13 Dy SPs to bring the situation under control, official sources said.
Meanwhile, the Madras High Court’s Madurai bench is expected to deliver an interim order on the ongoing construction of a new copper smelter by Sterlite Industries in Thoothukudi.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami has ordered a judicial inquiry into the violence and police firing while appealing for calm from the people. The CM has also assured to take necessary steps in line with their demands against Sterlite Industries.
Thousands of protesters had gathered near a local church in Tuticorin, some 600 km from state capital Chennai, on Tuesday and tried to take out a march to the district collector’s office. The protestors were earlier denied permission to proceed towards the copper smelter plant owned by Sterlite Industries.
Defending the police action against the agitators, CM Palaniswami said that the cops were forced to take evasive action as the protest had turned violent.
“The police had to take action under unavoidable circumstances to protect public life and property as the protesters resorted to repeated violence. Police had to control the violence,” the Tamil Nadu CM said.
On Tuesday Congress President Rahul Gandhi hadtermed the deaths of 11 people in police firing as a “brutal example of state sponsored terrorism”. He said people were murdered in Tuticorin for protesting against injustice.