Statement from Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisation

Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisation (CDRO) condemns strongly the cold blooded massacre of 11 and injuring more than 30 peaceful protesters against the Sterlite Smelter plant of Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu.

They have been protesting against the project for past several years over the pollution caused by the plant. The plant had earlier been ordered to be closed for violating Tamil nadu pollution control board norms but allowed to be reopened by National green tribunal. Supreme court had also ordered Sterlite to pay a fine of 100 crores for polluting the area.

The villagers have started the protest on hearing that initial licence for 25 years is coming to an end and the plan for expansion of the project. The protests have been continuing for the last 3 months peacefully campaigning against the expansion. All appeals to government to close the plant went unheeded. They went on a protest with more than 50,000 thronging the roads asking for closure of the plant as recently as 24 the March.

The proposed plan for peaceful protest before the plant premises was well known to the authorities much earlier.
Sterlite has obtained High court order for protection few days earlier now.

The Collector of Tuticorin, Venkatesh had issued prohibitory order through out the Tuticorin town from Monday evening to Wednesday morning. More than 2000 police personnel were brought on action for restraining the protestors. Preventive arrests were done on Monday itself.

The peaceful protestors thronging the roads in thousands when blockaded by the strong force of police battalion were enraged over the restraint orders.

The firing resorted to by the police leading to death of around 11 villagers and injuring grievously more than 30 just in the name of restraint is totally a blatant use of force by the Tamil nadu government and police is brutal and fascist in nature.

CDRO condemns the cold blooded masscre of people of Tuticorin to serve the interests of Corporates.

CDRO demands

1) The Collector of Tuticorin, Venkatesh and DGP T.K. Rajendran be suspended forthwith and charged for massacre and heinous crime on innocent villagers.

2) Tamil nadu Government should order immediate closure of the Sterlite plant.

3) The Tamil nadu government should immediately order compensation of 25 lakhs the deceased family and 10 lakhs for those injured.

4) Tamil nadu Government should provide job to the family member of the deceased and injured.

On behalf of CDRO,

Gopal, CPDR-TN
Sugumaran, CPDR-TN

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Statement from All India Krantikari Kisan Sabha

We came to know that 11 agitators have been killed and more than 30 injured in Police firing in Thoothukkudi, Tamilnadu who were part of a People’s march protesting the pollution of drinking water and the environment in the entire area from the Sterillite Copper Project, a Corporate Giant Vedanta Group Company. The agitators were protesting for a long period against the anti people Copper Project of Corporate Giant Sterrilite. Due to a Gas leak in the project in 2013, the then Chief Minister J Jayalalitha had ordered its closure. But the Company re-opened after succeeding in getting a court order in their favour. The people were also continuing their agitation against the project. The State Government did not take any serious step to settle the problem till date which escalated the people’s anger as they were suffering a lot due to the pollution of the waterbodies and environment nearby the project. The greedi Corporate also getting support from the Central and State Governments did not give any care to the genuine protest of the people.

We now strongly condemn the heinous action of the police. We demand immediate arrest of all police officials responsible for firing and register criminal cases against them for murder, adequate compensation to the nearest relatives of the martyrs and injured people, proper enquiry of the incident and immediate closure of the project.

We request all the democratic minded people to declare solidarity with the struggling people of Thoothukudy and come out in the streets against the Corporate loot of natural resources and human labour power.

We also convey our condolences to the bereaved members of the family of martyrs in the police firing. We also salute the martyrs and struggling people of Thoothukudy.

Pradip Singh Thakur
General Secretary
National Committee
All India Krantikari Kisan Sabha