At least nine people have been reportedly killed and several others injured as protests against Sterlite Industries in Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin turned violent on Tuesday. Angry protesters pelted stones on policemen and damaged several vehicles.
Police had to baton-charge the protesters to control the situation. The administration has imposed Section 144 in the region to prevent the situation from worsening.
Police said section 144 of CrPc has been invoked in and around the Sterlite unit to provide security to it as per the orders of the Madras High Court.
However, angered over not being allowed to take out a rally, the slogan-shouting protesters forcibly tried to push back the security personnel in riot gear.
They then started hurling stones at police and also overturned a vehicle after which the security personnel lobbed teargas shells to disperse them, they said.
06:35 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi has described the killing of 9 people in anti-Sterlite protests as 'state sponsored terrorism'. "The gunning down by the police of 9 people in the Sterlite protest in Tamil Nadu, is a brutal example of state sponsored terrorism. These citizens were murdered for protesting against injustice. My thoughts & prayers are with the families of these martyrs and the injured," Rahul tweeted.
05:02 pm: Nine people killed during the protest held in Tuticorin demanding ban on Sterlite Industries, reports ANI.
04:50 pm: Police force from adjoining districts of Madurai and Virudhunagar rushed to Tuticorin to control the situation. Heavy police deployment on streets of the coastal town.
03:27 pm: Death toll in violent protests against Sterlite’s industrial plant in Tutocorin has risen to four. Four others have been admitted to a nearby hospital and are said to be in critical condition, according to reports.
2:50 pm: Reports say a 50-year-old man has been killed in violence in Tuticorin where thousands are protesting demanding closure of Sterlite Industries copper unit.
2:42 pm: Protesters resort to stone pelting on police men. Several vehicles damaged.
2:40 pm: Police baton-charge angry protesters in Tuticorin. At least 20 people injured.
The district has been witnessing several protests by locals and others against the Sterlite Copper plant here and its proposed expansion.
Watch: Anti-Sterlite protests turn violent in Tuticorin
Protesters have alleged that the plant was polluting ground water in their area.
Sterlite Copper represents the copper unit of Vedanta Limited which operates a 400,000 tonnes per annum-plant in Tuticorin.
(With inputs from PTI)