Sterlite protests: Consider restoring internet services in protest-hit Tuticorin, Madras HC tells Tamil Nadu govt

The Madras High Court has asked the Tamil Nadu government to consider restoring internet services in Thoothukudi (also called Tuticorin), which saw violent protests earlier this week opposing a copper smelter plant there, reports said. The high court also questioned why internet services were blocked in other districts. This was after the state government informed the court that the situation in the district is now normal.

The high court also issued a notice to the Tamil Nadu government in response to a plea seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the violence that took place on 22 and 23 May.

The Delhi High Court has also taken cognisance of the issue and directed the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to look into a representation by a petitioner with respect to the violence. The petitioner has sought a probe by the NHRC into police firing during the protests, which left 13 people dead, ANI reported. The panel is said to have sought reports from the state DGP and chief secretary.

 Sterlite protests: Consider restoring internet services in protest-hit Tuticorin, Madras HC tells Tamil Nadu govt

Protests against the copper plant in Thoothukudi. News18

Meanwhile, Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu upped the ante against the state government over the clashes. The DMK, on Friday, led a bandh called by Opposition forces seeking the resignation of chief minister K Palaniswami.

Demonstrations were staged by the DMK, its allies Congress, IUML and friendly parties like MDMK, VCK, CPI, CPM and MMK in several parts of the state and neighbouring Puducherry.

Raising slogans denouncing the government and asking Palaniswami to tender his resignation, demonstrations were held at locations including Egmore and Saidapet in Chennai.

Former Chennai Mayor and DMK leader M Subramanian, party Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi, VCK chief Thirumavalavan, MMK leader MH Jawahirullah were among the leaders who participated in the demonstrations.

In the wake of the protest, traffic was disrupted in several locations in Chennai and security was tightened in all the districts of the state.

Buses of the state-run transport corporations were being operated as usual and all steps were being taken to ensure that normalcy was not disrupted, according to government authorities.

No fresh violence was reported so far on Friday from Thoothukudi. Violent protests erupted in Thoothukudi on Tuesday as locals took to the streets demanding closure of the copper factory of the Vedanta group over pollution concerns.

Meanwhile, in a BSE filing, Vedanta said that the state pollution control board has ordered the closure of its plant.

"The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) vide its order dated 23 May, 2018 ordered disconnection of electricity supply and closure of the company's 'Copper Smelter Plant 1 at Thoothukudi District, Tamil Nadu' under provisions of Section 33A of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and Section 31A of Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1971, with immediate effect," it said.

"We would also like to inform that the plant was not operating since 27 March, 2018," it added.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: May 25, 2018 15:14:05 IST