"At Least One Should Die" Cop Shoots At Anti-Sterlite Protesters; 11 Confirmed Dead
11 people were killed and many others were injured in police firing during the Anti-Sterlite protest in Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin. In the midst of this protest, a Tamil Nadu policeman parked himself on top of a police bus with an assault rifle. From photographs and videos, it can be seen that he was taking aim.
The video shows no threat to the police as the riot-control cop wears no uniform or helmet to protect him. The protestors are intentionally shot dead.
A huge number of policemen can be seen on the road below, some just in their khakis and others in their riot gears. Moments later another policeman, like a pro commando gets on top of the bus armed with an assault rifle. A voice was heard in the background, “At least one should die” and shots were fired. It is although not clear if he shot someone but the number of casualties and the cause of their death speaks otherwise.
#WATCH Local police in Tuticorin seen with assault rifles to disperse protesters demanding a ban on Sterlite Industries. 9 protestors have lost their lives. #TamilNadu. (Earlier visuals) pic.twitter.com/hinYmbtIZQ
— ANI (@ANI) May 22, 2018
Deceased and the protest
9 people are killed by the TN State Govt to protect the interest of one company #Sterlite. A bloody carnage out there, unable to digest this. All of them spearheaded the protests they have been targeted and killed. A black day for TN. pic.twitter.com/rHK9KCyaBa
— Saravanan Annadurai (@asaravanan21) May 22, 2018
Yesterday marked the 100th day of the protest. The locals are demanding a closure of the copper smelting unit due to the pollution it causes and the health hazard it poses. They have also been complaining about water pollution for years. The protest gained massive response this year as Sterlite was planning to double its capacity and expand in the view of their 25 years contract coming to an end. The Madras High Court’s Madurai bench on Wednesday stayed the ongoing construction work for a new copper smelter by Sterlite.
When Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami announced a judicial probe into the violence, he also announced 10 lakh compensation to the kin of the deceased, Rs 3 lakh for those seriously injured and Rs 1 lakh each for the other injured. Congress president Rahul Gandhi described as a “murder” and “state-sponsored terrorism”. Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit also expressed his condolences.
Online petition against Sterlite
An online petition has been started by a group of citizens against the police violence. The petition says
“The people who died are just ordinary people who have been forced to take to the streets, and march to the Collectorate to demand action from an administration that has systematically and for decades failed to enforce the law on Sterlite. The District Collector, the chairperson and member secretary of Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, the Secretaries holding the environment portfolios in the central and state governments, the ministers of environment at the state and centre, and the chief minister of Tamil Nadu need to account for their inaction in the face of overwhelming evidence of illegalities, environmental harm and damage to public health.”
The petition reiterated the point again “The company failed to reform its ways even after this narrow judicial escape. The regulators — TNPCB and Ministry of Environment and Forests — too continued their cosy relationship with Sterlite ignoring blatant violations of statutory conditions and clear indications of pollution.”
You can sign the petition here.