Tamil Nadu govt forms panel to probe Tuticorin violence during Sterlite protests
The single-judge commission will cover the “law and order incidents following the siege of the District Collectorate by thousands of persons violating prohibitory orders”.Updated: May 23, 2018 13:46 IST
Under fire over police firing against protesters demanding closure of the Sterlite plant in Tuticorin, the Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday appointed a one-person Commission of Inquiry headed by a retired judge of the Madras High Court to probe the violence.
The inquiry will cover the “law and order incidents following the siege of the District Collectorate by thousands of persons violating prohibitory orders,” an official release here said.
Appointing retired Judge Aruna Jagadeesan for the task, the government said she would submit her report to the government. However, the time-frame for submitting the report has not been specified.
The violence during a protest, seeking permanent closure of Vedanta group’s Sterlite Copper plant over alleged pollution issues also saw several dozens of men and women sustaining injuries which includes police personnel as well.
According to the Tuticorin police, eight men and two women were killed in the violence.
Hurling stones and setting government vehicles and public property on fire, the agitators went on the rampage in the town, about 600 km from Tamil Nadu capital Chennai. The Tamil Nadu government has come in for sharp criticism for opening fire on protesters with DMK leader MK Stalin tweeting a photo of what appears to be a cop in plain clothes pointing his gun at the protesters with the title, “Mass Murder of Innocent People”
◼ 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
First Published: May 23, 2018 13:46 IST