Palaniswami says anti-Sterlite protesters killed in Tamil Nadu ‘unfortunate’, orders judicial inquiry
Tamil Nadu chief minister K Palaniswami also announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the families of each of those killed in the Tuticorin protests against the Sterlite plant.Updated: May 23, 2018 09:31 IST
Tamil Nadu chief minister K Palaniswami said on Tuesday nine people were killed in “police action” against anti-Sterlite protesters in Tuticorin, and announced a judicial inquiry into the violence.
Detailing the events leading to the “unfortunate” deaths, he said the protesters took out a procession towards the collectorate defying prohibitory orders in the area.
They not only pelted policemen with stones but also set on fire their vehicles as well as those parked in the collectorate. They hurled stones at the collector’s office, he said in a statement.
“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,” Palaniswami, who holds the Home portfolio, said.
“I was grieved to know nine persons were unfortunately killed in this incident,” he said, expressing his sympathies and condolences for the families of those killed.
Palaniswami said he has ordered constitution of a one-man commission under a retired high court judge to go into the incident.
The chief minister also announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the families of each of those killed, Rs 3 lakh to those seriously injured, and Rs 1 lakh for people who suffered minor injuries.
◼ October 1996: Plant starts operating, almost immediately clearances challenged before the Madras high court
◼ August 1997: Protests begin after complaints of air and water pollution.
◼ November 1998: Interim order by the high court to close the plant, but reopened weeks later after company agrees to put pollution safeguards
◼ January 2001: Complaints by locals of polluted water and release of toxic waste water from the plant
◼ September 2010: Madras high court orders closure of the plant over pollution concerns but reopened less than a week later after Supreme Court stays the order
◼ March 2013: Tamil Nadu pollution control board orders closure of the plant after a gas leak
◼ April 2013: Supreme Court fines Sterlite Rs 100 crore for pollution but doesn¡¦t order closure of the plant
◼ May 2016: Madras high court dismisses petition challenging expansion on the grounds that no public consultation was held
◼ February 2018: Fresh protests after reports that Sterlite is looking to expand the plant and increase capacity
◼ March 2018: Plant shuts for maintenance
◼ April 2018: Tamil Nadu pollution control board refuses to renew plant’s license
He also assured government jobs for one family member of each of those who lost their lives in accordance with their qualifications.
The chief minister instructed the Tuticorin district administration to ensure those wounded got proper medical treatment.
Nearly 5,000 people demanding closure of the Vedanta group-owned plant on Tuesday went on a rampage over pollution concerns, clashing with police, and setting vehicles and public property on fire.