A day after 11 people were killed in police firing during protests demanding closure of a polluting unit of Sterlite Industries, security has been tightened in Tamil Nadu's coastal city of Tuticorin.
Security forces carried out a flag march in Thoothukudi on Wednesday as Section 144, which prohibits assembly of more than 4 people in an area, remains imposed in the area. Nearly 3000 police personnel have been deployed under four Additional Superintendents of Police and 13 Dy SPs to bring the situation under control, official sources said.
Meanwhile, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court has stayed the construction of a new copper smelter by Sterlite Industries in Thoothukudi.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami has ordered a judicial inquiry into the violence and police firing while appealing for calm from the people. The CM has also assured to take necessary steps in line with their demands against Sterlite Industries.
As it happened:
03:30 pm: DMK Working President MK Stalin visits General Hospital at Thoothukudi to meet people who were injured in Sterlite protests on Tuesday
02:00 pm: Angry protestors set a bus on fire outside the General Hospital in Thoothukudi where those injured in Tuesday's police firing have been admitted. More force has been deployed outside the hospital.
01:05 pm: National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issues notice to Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary and Director General of Police (DGP) over police firing during anti-Sterlite protest in Thoothukudi that claimed 11 lives. NHRC asks Tamil Nadu Government within two weeks.
12:48 pm: "The Sterlite Copper plant is currently non-operational as we await approval for the consent to operate," a statement issued by Sterlite Industries, which operates the copper smelter facility in Thoothukudi, said.
12:47 pm: Tamil Nadu government appoints retired Judge Aruna Jagadeesan to head the inquiry commission formed to probe Tuesday's police firing on anti-Sterlite protestors. | Read story
12:40 pm: Clashes between locals and police outside General Hospital in Thoothukudi where people who were injured in police firing during anti-Sterlite protests on Tuesday are undergoing treatment.
12:20 pm: CPI(M) holds protest in Coimbatore against killing of 11 people in police firing during anti-Sterlite protests in Thoothukudi on Tuesday.
12:06 pm: We must know who ordered this firing. It is not me but the victims who are demanding this. Merely announcing compensation isn't a solution. This industry must be shut and this is what people are demanding, says Kamal Haasan after meeting those injured in police firing .
11:56 am: Actor-turned-politician and Makkal Needhi Maiam chief Kamal Haasan reaches General Hospital in Thoothukudi to meet those injured in police firing during anti-Sterlite protests on Tuesday.
11:54 am: DMK calls for an all party protest on May 25 over killing of 11 people on Thoothukudi in police firing.
11:40 am: Madurai bench of Madras High Court stays construction of a new copper smelter by Sterlite Industries in Thoothukudi.
11:26 am: What happened in Tuticorin is a cold-blooded murder by police. They should be booked for murder and SP, Collector, DGP, Chief Secretary should be suspended. Taking moral responsibility, CM Edappadi K Palaniswami should also resign, says former Union Minister Anbumani Ramadoss.
11:09 am: Home Ministry seeks a report from Tamil Nadu Government over killing of 11 people in police firing during protests against Sterlite Industries in Tuticorin.
Anti-Sterlite protests: 'It's state sponsored terrorism', says Rahul after 9 killed in violence | As it happened
10:30 am: Makkal Needhi Maiam Chief Kamal Haasan to visit Thoothukudi today where 11 people were killed on Tuesday in police firing during protests against Sterlite Industries.
10:15 am: Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) Chief Vaiko meets those injured during protests against Sterlite Industries.
Thousands of protesters had gathered near a local church in Tuticorin, some 600 km from state capital Chennai, on Tuesday and tried to take out a march to the district collector's office. The protestors were earlier denied permission to proceed towards the copper smelter plant owned by Sterlite Industries.
Defending the police action against the agitators, CM Palaniswami said that the cops were forced to take evasive action as the protest had turned violent.
"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," the Tamil Nadu CM said.
'State sponsored terrorism'
Congress President Rahul Gandhi had on Tuesday termed the deaths of 11 people in police firing as a "brutal example of state sponsored terrorism". He said people were murdered in Tuticorin for protesting against injustice.
"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 and prayers are with the families of these martyrs and the injured," Gandhi said on Twitter.
DMK Working President MK Stalin condemned the police action, saying the state government should have sorted out the issue earlier through talks with the protesters.
"Since the government did not take any steps in this regard, the people launched today's massive rally....police attacked people indiscriminately and opened fire on them which is condemnable," Stalin, also the Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly, told reporters in Chennai.
Watch: 11 killed in police firing in Tuticorin during anti-Sterlite protests