DMK and other opposition parties in Tamil Nadu have called for a dawn-to-dusk bandh on Friday, in protest against the police action in Tuticorin earlier this week in which more than 13 people were killed and several others injured.
Protesters in Tuticorin, nearly 600 km from Chennai, had clashed with police protesting the proposed expansion of a copper smelter of Sterlite Copper, a unit of the Vedanta group, over pollution concerns. The Tamil Nadu police resorted to firing as the agitation allegedly turned violent. Yesterday, DMK leader Stalin, who was holding a protest outside Tamil Nadu secretariat, was also detained by the police. Several other leaders were detained too.
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister EK Palaniswami on Thursday defended the police action. “When someone hits you, you naturally tend to defend yourselves. so on such situations, no one acts in a pre-planned manner,” he wrote on Twitter.
On Thursday, police registered cases against opposition leader MK Stalin and actor-politician Kamal Haasan for defying prohibitory orders and arrested over 100 people who were protesting against the police firing. Meanwhile, a Commission of Inquiry headed by retired Madras High Court judge Aruna Jagadeesan has also been constituted to probe circumstances leading to firing. The Centre and NHRC have also sought a report over the violence. Internet services in Tuticorin and adjoining districts of Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari have been suspended till May 27 to prevent the spread of rumours through social media.
Here are the live updates:
05:10 pm: Internet suspension lifted in Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari, services to remain suspended in Thoothukudi.
11:51 am: In the wake of protest, traffic was disrupted in several locations in Chennai. However, no fresh violence was reported from Tuticorin which witnessed a large scale violence on May 22 and 23. Buses with police security were operated to a few locations from Tuticorin city and security was tightened in all the districts of the state.
11:44 am: DMK, its ally Congress and friendly parties like MDMK, VCK, CPI, CPI(M) and MMK staged demonstrations in several parts in Tamil and neighbouring Puducherry. They were protesting to condemn the Tuticorin violence in which 13 people lost their lives. The opposition also demanded that Tamil Nadu CM K Palaniswami must tender his resignation as the state government was not able to control the situation.
11:07 am: Taking cognisance of a petition filed by GS Mani, the Supreme Court today asked the petitioner to mention the matter again on Monday. The top court said it can't hear the matter on Friday. Mani has sought a court-monitored CBI probe into the Thoothukudi police firing.
10:55 am: DMK's Kanimozhi, VCK's Thirumavalavan among those detained by police in opposition protest against Thoothukudi firing.
10:37 am: Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday condoled the loss of lives in Tuticorin and said the MHA has taken cognisance of the matter. He also said that Prime Minister Modi is anguished by the incident.
10:00 am: DMK, Congress workers stage protest in Chennai's Egmore.
9:55 am: In view of the bandh call given by DMK and other opposition parties in Tamil Nadu, transport services are likely to be affected in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
9:26 am: Describing the loss of 12 lives in violent protests in Tuticorin as “unfortunate”, Vedanta Chairman Anil Agarwal Thursday said Sterlite Copper would like to continue operations at the company’s plant with support from the community.
In a video message on Twitter, Agarwal claimed that the company strictly abide by the rules when it came to following anti-pollution norms. “I am very sad to hear the incident… This was absolutely unfortunate. My full sympathy is with the families (of the deceased),” Agarwal said.
8:40 am: Protests against the Vedanta owned plant - Sterlite Copper - in Tuticorin have been on for several months but on Tuesday police opened fire on protesters after clashes. The DMK and other Opposition parties have called for a dawn-to-dusk bandh today in protest against the police action. 13 people have been killed due to the police firing so far.