Tamil Nadu CM Palaniswami accuses rival parties for instigating Thoothukudi violence
The chief minister’s comments follows the accusations levied by the DMK which demanded Palaniswami’s resignation over the violence in Thoothukudi.india Updated: May 24, 2018 15:17 IST
Breaking his silence over the killing of 11 people in police firing in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu chief minister K Palaniswami on Thursday accused rival political parties of “instigating” violence.
The chief minister said power supply to the plant was discontinued following a direction from the state’s pollution control board.
Palaniswami claimed some anti-social elements had infiltrated the anti-Sterlite plant protesters and unleashed violence.
Terming the incidents as “unfortunate,” he condoled the deaths and said all past agitations for the closure of the plant were peaceful.
“This time round it (protest) turned violent. It was due to instigation by some political parties and owing to infiltration by anti-social elements,” Palaniswamy, who is under relentless attack from the Opposition, said.
Recalling steps taken by the AIADMK governments for the closure of the plant, Palaniswami said the “deliberate” violence was meant “to bring disrepute to the government and put it under pressure”.
He said the state government was making efforts for the closure of the plant since 2013, when late J Jayalalithaa was the chief minister.
“As far as Amma’s government is concerned, we respect people’s feelings,” he said, adding all legal steps were under way to shut the Sterlite plant, and cases were pending before the Supreme Court and high court.
Last month, he said, the Pollution Control Board did not renew the Consent to Operate (CTO) the Sterlite Copper’s plant. The copper smelting unit was not functional, he said, seeking to assuage people’s concerns over the factory polluting ground water in the area.
He deplored that despite the government’s efforts for the closure of the factory, “people belonging to some outfits and opposition parties are instigating innocent people”.
The chief minister said district authorities have had 14 meetings with the agitators over the past 4-5 months where they explained to the locals steps being undertaken to shut the plant.
He said advertisements were published in newspapers on April 14 detailing measures the government had taken for its closure.
Centre calls for calm
Home minister Rajnath Singh appealed to the people of Thoothukudi to remain calm and maintain peace in the wake of the violence.
The home ministry has sought a report from the Tamil Nadu government on the police firing and the prevailing situation in the port city, the minister said.
“I am deeply pained at the loss of precious lives during the agitation at Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu. My thoughts are with bereaved families. I also pray for the speedy recovery of the injured.
“I appeal to the people in Tuticorin to remain calm and maintain peace and tranquility in the region,” he said in a statement.
The port city of Thoothukudi, also known as Tuticorin, witnessed large-scale violence and arson on Tuesday which led to the killing of 10 people in police firing. Violent protests erupted once again yesterday, prompting police to open fire again, killing one person.
First Published: May 24, 2018 15:13 IST