9 die in police firing in southern India

9 die in police firing in southern India

In an official press release, the party said, "The protests against the Sterlite plant were taken lightly by the Tamil Nadu government, and that attitude is the reason for today's unfortunate events". At least 60 people, including policemen and journalists covering the protests, were injured in the clashes.

About 20,000 people gathered at the protest site today and stormed the district collector's office, vandalising government property. Police officials resorted to lathicharge and tear gas to disperse the crowd to contain the tense situation.

Sterlite Copper unit was shut down on March 29 this year for 15 days for "maintenance work". Congress President Rahul Gandhi termed the deaths as "state-sponsored killing" while actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan also blamed the state government for "negligence" even as he condemned the violence in the city.

Police said section 144 of CrPc has been invoked in and around the Sterlite unit to provide security as per Madras HC orders.

Protesters say the plant is polluting ground water in the area and threatens the fishing industry.

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Meanwhile, condemning the police action and the state government, the opposition and various organizations protested across the state. It should take responsibility for the loss of life and violence. He said almost 3,000 troops had been brought in from neighbouring districts to control the situation.

The Tamil Nadu government also issued a statement in which stated that Sterlite plant was functioning in the state for over 20 years and in 2013 the then Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had ordered the closure of factory after people complained of irritation in their eyes after emissions from the project.

The state also said that an inquiry commission will probe into the incident. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister EK Paliniswami expressed grief over the deaths but justified the police action, stating that they had to open fire under "unavoidable circumstance". "These citizens were murdered for protesting against injustice", Gandhi said on Twitter. "I am going to Thoothukudi (Tuticorin) to meet those who are affected due to and are protesting against the Sterlite Plant", he added.

Earlier, Mint had reported that Chennai Solidarity Group, an NGO, had alleged that Sterlite had obtained clearance without conducting a public hearing as prescribed by the Environmental Impact Assessment notification. The plant is now non-operational and has been ordered to stay shut till June 6 as Tamil Nadu pollution control board has denied its permission for the unit to operate because of alleged non-compliance with environmental rules, Indian Express reported.