Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Police in south India accused of mass murder after shooting dead protesters

Police in south India accused of mass murder after shooting dead protesters Police in south India accused of mass murder after shooting dead protesters
Shannon Reynolds | 23 May, 2018, 20:12

The protests were going on in Tuticorin for over three months now, but violence erupted on Tuesday with agitators fighting pitched battles with police, prompting it to open fire.

"It is with great sorrow and regret that we witnessed today's incidents around the protest at Tuticorin", the firm said in a statement issued to media. Agitated protestors then started to pelt stones and toppled police vehicles.

Thousands of local residents participated in Tuesday's protests, which turned violent after the police barricaded the route to the collector's office. Windscreens of some government cars were smashed and bank premises were attacked by the rampaging mobs.

In one video a policeman is clearly heard telling his counterpart to ensure that atleast 2 people are killed in the firing. Even after heavy police force was deployed in the region, protests and violence continued. Reinforcements had to be rushed in from neighbouring districts to Tuticorin to assist the local administration in restoring normalcy.

- Retired judge Aruna Jagadeesan has been appointed by the Tamil Nadu government to probe the police firing in Tuticorin. This is to condemn the ruling AIADMK for opening fire on protesters and also demanding permanent closure of the Sterlite plant. With the tribunal overturning the government order, the state moved the Supreme Court against it, and the petition was now pending there, it added.

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The plant has already been shut for more than 50 days and will remain closed until at least June 6 because the local pollution regulator has said the facility is not complying with environmental rules.

The company maintains that it adheres to environmental standards and said it was the victim of "false propaganda" about its operations. It added that the plant is now non-operational as the company was awaiting approval for it.

Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President Thirunavukarasu also blamed the government for the "Thoothukudi massacre", and asked it to heed public opinion and close the plant.

The Opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) came out strongly against the killings of protesters in police firing and compared the incident with Punjab's Jallianwalla Bagh massacre by the British, which took place almost a hundred years ago.

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