Labour Party Calls For Removal Of Vedanta From London Stock Exchange After Thoothukudi Incident
May 27th, 2018
Image Source | Financial Express
The opposition party in Britain, the Labour Party, has called for the removal of Vedanta from the London Stock Exchange (LSE), following the “massacre” by the Police in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu, killing at least 13 anti-Sterlite protestors, The Hindu reported.
The report quoted the Labour Party’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, saying,”The news from Tamil Nadu that 13 protesters against Vedanta have been killed is shocking and demands action.” He further added,”After the massacre of the protesters this week, regulators must now take action. This is a major multinational company that for years has operated illegal mining concerns trashing the environment and forcibly evicting local people. Campaigners and international NGOs like Amnesty International have accused Vedanta of a string of human rights violations and environmental abuses in India, Zambia and across the globe”.
McDonnell has been very vocal in his criticism of Vedanta over the years. In 2015, as a backbench MP, he tabled an Early Day Motion (a means to draw attention to issues) in the British Parliament, over the death of 40 workers, in what was coined as one of the worst industrial tragedies in Indian history. Also, it was accused of trying to suppress a judicial probe on the same.
A protest against the Industrial giant was planned for Saturday afternoon, by the Foil Vedanta (a grassroots activist group centred in London but linking into domestic campaign groups) and Tamil People in the UK (a group representing several thousand members across Britain).
“We want to point to the collusion of the Indian state in these killings. We absolutely condemn the collusion with this British corporate entity who we hold directly responsible for the events,” said Miriam Rose of Foil Vedanta, The Business Line reported.
Furthermore, Karthik Kamalakannan of Tamil People in the UK said, “We are gravely concerned about the treatment of protesters and the violation of human rights. We also want to express our solidarity with the protesters. We are proud of the stand they have been taking against this corporate giant,” the report stated.
According to The Business Line, Foil Vedanta over the years has many a time called for a review of Vedanta Resources and also asked British regulatory authorities to review their decision over the company’s listing in the LSE. Rose elaborated this point and was quoted as saying, “we have been calling for the company to be delisted. Delisting it would be the ultimate action the government could take. We argue that the regulator never did the due diligence at the time. It should never have been listed.”
The local residents are protesting the ₹3,500 crore expansion of Sterlite Industries (India), which has toxified the groundwater and has caused many respiratory illnesses including cancer among the inhabitants. The Madras High Court as of now has stayed the expansion of the Copper Smelting Plant Unit II, ordering Vedanta to “cease construction and other activities” in the site, The Indian Express reported.
Also published on Medium.