The Madras High Court has ordered the Edappadi K Palaniswami government to explain the circumstances that led to police firing into a crowd in Thoothukudi by 6 June. The protest took place last month, leading to the death of 13 people.
On 22 May, the police opened fire on the agitators protesting the expansion of the Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi, which is also known by its British name Tuticorin. The high court also wanted to know from the Tamil Nadu government as to who ordered the police to open fire.
According to India Today, the high court's Madurai bench issued the directive after it received a petition demanding the registration of a murder case against the state police chief, as well as the formation of a special investigation team (or SIT).
Tamil Nadu chief minister Palaniswami on 29 May had said the order issued by the state government for shutting down the Sterlite Copper plant was legally valid and blamed the DMK for the violence in Thuthookudi or Tuticorin on 22 May, says IANS.
The protests started in February against Vedanta, demanding a permanent closure of the Sterlite plant, on environmental grounds. The company has been accused by local residents and environmentalists of polluting the city's air and groundwater. According to an NDTV report on the protest, "The police said they were forced to open fire as violence broke out during the protesters' march to the collectorate. They said members of fringe groups like Makkal Adhikari and Naam Tamizhar Katchi were among the protesters and instigated the violence."
Following the attack, the state government ordered the permanent closure of the plant on Monday.
Updated Date: Jun 01, 2018 16:22 PM