Anti-Sterlite protest in Tamil Nadu turns violent
TUTICORIN: The months-long protest demanding closure of Vedanta's Sterlite Copper unit here took a violent turn today with agitators pelting stones and toppling police vehicles after they were prevented from marching towards the plant.
More than one person has reportedly died.
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.
While more than 20 people suffered minor injuries in stone-pelting incident, some vehicles were set on fire, leading to tension in the area, they added.
Meanwhile, a peaceful demonstration was held near the old bus stand in the town, also demanding the closure of the Sterlite unit and the proposed expansion of the plant.
Several shops in this town, Srivaikundam and Oddapidaram remained shut in support of the protest, police said.
The district has been witnessing several protests by locals and others against the Sterlite Copper plant here and its proposed expansion.
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.