One-Woman Committee Begins Probe into Tuticorin Deaths
The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court has passed an interim order in connection with allegations of Sterlite operating a second unit in Tuticorin.
The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court has passed an interim order in connection with allegations of Sterlite operating a second unit in Tuticorin.(Photo:Altered by The Quint)
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One-Woman Committee Begins Probe into Tuticorin Deaths

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KEY EVENT

Enquiry Committee to Probe Tuticorin Killings Comes into Force

The enquiry committee formed by Tamil Nadu government to probe the Tuticorin killings took charge on 4 June. Retired judge Aruna Jagadeesan has been appointed to head the one-woman enquiry committee. Addressing media persons, Jagadeesan said, “All information and statements will be recorded by 22 June. All media outlets should submit unedited videos to the head office in Chennai. If not, can submit in Tuticorin.”

I’m going to the hospital to meet the injured. Their statements will be taken & those who can’t come to court to record their statements, we’ll make arrangements for court people to go to them to record their statements.
Aruna Jagadeesan, Head of Tuticorin Enquiry Committee

She reassured that the investigation will be fair and unbiased. She said that a spot visit will be undertaken to the Sterlite plant, Collectorate and areas where violence took place.

KEY EVENT

NHRC Team Visits Tuticorin

A team of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) visited Tuticorin and met the District Collector and families affected due to the firing during the Sterlite protests.

(Photo: ANI) 

Later, the team also visited the General Hospital to meet the injured.

(Photo: ANI) 

UN Condemns Disproportionate Use of Police Force

Human rights experts from the United Nations have condemned the apparent disproportionate use of force by the police against protesters in Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin, over health and environmental concerns arising out of the copper smelting plant, which led to the death of 13 people.

The Office of the High Commissioner of the United Nations Human Rights issued a detailed statement. Here is the full text:

‘We are extremely concerned by the apparent disproportionate and excessive use of force, including the use of live ammunition, against protesters marching to raise legitimate human rights and environmental concerns.’

“We call on the Indian authorities to carry out an independent and transparent investigation, without delay, and to ensure that perpetrators of human rights violations be held accountable,” the statement adds.

Madras HC Directs TN Police to Not Disturb Family of Missing Accused

The Madras High Court on Friday, 1 June directed the Tamil Nadu police to not disturb the families of the accused, who have been missing, in the “name of enquiry”.

Madras HC Seeks Reply From TN Govt on Circumstances Leading Up to Firing

The Madras High Court has asked the Tamil Nadu government to explain the circumstances that led up to the firing in Thoothukudi, which killed thirteen people. ANI reports that the court has sought a reply from the state government by Wednesday, 6 June.

'If TN Sits on Protest for Everything, It'll Soon Become a Graveyard': Rajinikanth

Addressing the press in Chennai after arriving from Tuticorin, Rajinikanth responded to the critical comments made by several politicians regarding his statement on anti-social elements having instigated the violence in Tuticorin.

He said:

Just like during the Jallikattu protest, when a few anti-social elements infiltrated and created a riot, the same thing happened here. These anti-social elements were the ones who attacked the police, destroyed property at Collectorate, set fire to the Sterlite housing quarters.

He further alleged that the police firing that resulted in the death of several protesters, occurred only after the anti-social elements attacked the police. He added:

If people of Tamil Nadu sit on a protest for everything, then Tamil Nadu will become a graveyard.

Only 12 of 13 Died Due to Bullet Injuries: TN Govt to HC

The Tamil Nadu government told the Madras High Court that 12 out of 13 died due to bullet injuries in Tuticorin firing, while one of the injured died due to concussions.

Another postmortem is to be conducted to confirm the cause of death. The earlier postmortem was reportedly conducted only on 7 bodies as the remaining families were not cooperating.

The judge is yet to give orders on releasing bodies to the families. The judgment is expected by evening.

Rajinikanth Announces 2 Lakhs to Kin of Deceased

After having met the victims of the Sterlite protest violence, Rajinkanth announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the kin of the decased, and Rs 10000 to the families of those who were injured in the violence.

Speaking to reporters outside the hospital, he said:

The government should check all regulations of a company before sanctioning permission. This has happened because of the negligence of Intelligence. This should never happen. People are watching. They will respond when the time comes.  

Madras HC Directs TN Govt to Reply on Firing Incident

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has directed the Tamil Nadu government to file a reply on the firing incident. The reply is to be filed by 1 June.

A petition was also filed by a lawyer demanding 50 lakhs compensation for those who were killed and 10 lakhs for those injured in the incident.

Decision to Shut Tuticorin Plant Will Put 30,000 Jobs on Line: Sterlite

The decision of the Tamil Nadu government to shut the copper smelter plant in Tuticorin would have serious economic ramifications by pushing India's annual import bill by an estimated $2 billion, said P. Ramnath, CEO, Sterlite Copper.

"The sudden decision of Tamil Nadu government to close down our copper smelter in Tuticorin will have far reaching ramifications for the economy of not only the town and its adjoining villages but also the country," Ramnath said in a statement to IANS.

Rajinikanth Reaches Tuticorin General Hospital

Rajinikanth arrives at the general hospital in Tuticorin to meet those injured during the anti-Sterlite protests.

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Madras HC Hears PIL Against Expansion of Plant

The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court heard a PIL against the expansion of the plant, ruling that the application for environmental clearance must be taken up only after a mandatory public hearing. The bench has also ordered that a decision on this must be taken by September 23.

The court is also expected to read the postmortem reports today and only based on that will it take a call on whether the bodies can be handed over to the families.

Rajinikanth to Visit Tuticorin Today

Addressing the media outside his Poes Garden residence on Tuesday, Rajinikanth said that he will be visiting the vitms of the anti-sterlite protests in Tuticorin.

I am going to Tuticorin for the first time in such a sad situation and I feel sad for that. Going to meet the injured in the hospital and I believe they will be happy for them to see an artist like me, that’s why I am going there.  

Refraining to comment on CM Palaniswami’s stance on the issue, Rajinikanth said he did not wish to rake up past issues. Palaniswami had blamed the erstwhile DMK government for the situation in Tuticorin.

NHRC Issues Notice for Probe Into Deaths

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to the Director General of Investigation to constitute a four-member team to probe the deaths in police firing during the anti-Sterlite protests in Tuticorin.

Puducherry CM Hails Decision on Shutdown of Sterlite Plant in Tuticorin

Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy on Tuesday, 29 May, hailed the announcement of Tamil Nadu government 'permanently' closing Vedanta group's copper smelter plant in Tuticorin.

Talking to reporters in Puducherry, he said the announcement was a 'good decision', however, it was a matter of grief that 13 people had died during the protests against the plant. He appealed for peace to return to Tuticorin.

(Source: PTI)

A Sitting Judge Needs to Be on Panel to Probe Incident: Dhinakaran

Calling the action of a retired judge sitting on the panel probing the incident as “whitewash”, TTV Dhinakaran, in an interview to The Quint said that a siting judge was needed in his place, instead.

“CBI inquiry should be conducted to find out the reason for this murder. Yes we should call it murder by guns,” he said.

CM Shouldn't Have Let a Jallianwalah Bagh Massacre Happen: Dhinakaran

Speaking exclusively to The Quint, TTV Dhinakaran said that if the chief minister is blaming “anti-social” elements for creating a riot in Tuticorin, then how did he not give the order for the Intelligence to take charge of the matter.

He should not have let such a Jallianwalah Bagh massacre to happen or even in the future.
TTV Dhinakaran to The Quint

DMK Walked Out Today Because They Let Sterlite Operate

Chief Minister Palaniswamy reiterated his statement, saying that while Jayalalithaa had ordered for the shutdown of Sterlite, it was the DMK who had allowed it to continue.

The reason DMK walked out today is because they can’t face the facts. It was Karunanidhi who had sanctioned the expansion of the Sterlite plant.
Chief Minister Palaniswamy

Murder Cases Should be Filed Against SP, Collector, Others: TTV Dhinakaran

TTV Dhinakaran stated that cases amounting to murder should be filed against the SP and Collector, Nellai DIG, Madurai IG and the DGP of Tamil Nadu, who he says are accountable for the death of the 13 people who had been killed in the protests.

CM Blames DMK Leader Geetha Jeevan For Instigating Violence

Chief Minister Palaniswami blamed DML leader Geetha Javan for “instigating violence”, for having launched the protests against the Sterlite plant in the first place.

Some DMK miscreants created trouble in the procession in Tuticorin.
Chief Minister Palaniswami

CM Issues Release Outlining TN's Struggle with Sterlite

In a release outlining the state’s historic struggle with the Sterlite plant, Chief Minister Palaniswami said that in 2013, Jayalalithaa had cut off the power supply and demanded that the Sterlite plant be shut down, but the Green Tribunal had allowed for it to be run again.

CM Palaniswami maintained that the police action was "unavoidable" and asserted that action would be taken if anyone had wrongly handled the situation, reported PTI.

(Photo: Smitha Tarur/The Quint)
(Photo: Smitha Tarur/The Quint)
(Photo: Smitha Tarur/The Quint)
(Photo: Smitha Tarur/The Quint)

He added that on 22 May, when people had gathered at the Collectorate, a few “anti-social elements” had indulged in arson and the police had little choice but to resort to firing, in an attempt to bring the situation under control.

Opposition MLAs Walk Out of Assembly

Opposition parties, all clad in black, walk out of the Assembly, demanding the resignation of the Chief Minister and as a mark of protest against the police firing in Tuticorin during the anti-Sterlite protests.

DMK leader MK Stalin earlier said, “This move to shut down Sterlite is just an eyewash. This could have been done long ago. TN Government should hold all those accountable who ordered for the police firing. I call for the resignation of the CM Edappadi Palaniswamy.”

He added that the government had taken a bribe from Vedanta.

When we were protesting against the shootings and the mass murder in assembly, the CM got up and objected to our usage of the word ‘mass murder’ and asked for it to be struck off the record of the house. The Speaker also removed it. This is an inept government that removes it. They say there are 13 victims. But no police official has taken responsibility. There should be a murder case filed against all the police officers involved in this. They should be suspended and should face disciplinary action.
MK Stalin, as quoted by The News Minute

DMK's Stalin Appeals for an Adjournment Motion in Support of Anti-Sterlite Protests

DMK leader MK Stalin appeals for an adjournment motion to show support for the protests against Sterlite’s copper unit.

The enquiry committee set up the Tamil Nadu government to probe the killings in Tuticorin during the anti-Sterlite protets took charge on 5 June under the leadership of retired High Court (HC) judge Aruna Jagadeesan.

The Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday, 30 May, submitted that 12 of the 13 persons who were killed in the protests died due to bullet injuries sustained from the police firing on 22 May. The 13th person reportedly died due to concussions.

Snapshotclose

  • UN Condemns Disproportionate Use of Police Force
  • The Madras High Court has sought a reply from the Tamil Nadu government by 6 June
KEY EVENT

DMK Leaders Wear Black to Assemby

DMK leader MK Stalin and other DMK MLAs arrive in Tamil Nadu Assembly wearing black clothes as a mark of protest against the police firing on anti-Sterlite protestors in Tuticorin.

KEY EVENT

TN Governor Reaches Tuticorin to Meet Victims

Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit has reached Tuticorin to meet Sterlite victims.

KEY EVENT

Land Allotted for Phase 2 of Sterlite Plant Cancelled

The allotment of land for the proposed expansion of Vedanta group's copper plant in Tuticorin was today cancelled "in larger public interest" by the State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu Ltd (SIPCOT), an official release said.

"As the allotment of land for the proposed expansion has been made by SIPCOT, in larger public interest, the land allotment made by SIPCOT for proposed expansion of copper smelter plant (Phase-2) by Vedanta Ltd is hereby cancelled," SIPCOT said in its communication to the Vedanta group.

"The land price collected for the said land allotment will be refunded as per the norms of SIPCOT," it said.

An official release here said, "The cancellation of allotment of 342.22 acres of land has been made in larger public interest and this has been communicated to the company." Chief Minister K Palaniswami had yesterday said the state government had issued the directive to seal and 'permanently' close the copper unit, in deference to the 'sentiments' of the people.

"In deference to the opinion and sentiments of the general public, it was decided to close down the Sterlite plant and a Government Order has been issued today," he had said.

Vedanta Ltd termed the closure "unfortunate" and said it would decide the future course of action after studying the development.

Also Read : TN Govt Orders Closure of Tuticorin Sterlite Plant After 13 Deaths

KEY EVENT

TN Orders Permanent Closure of Sterlite Plant, Unit Shut

The Tamil Nadu government on 29 May ordered the state Pollution Control Board to seal and "permanently" close the Vedanta group's copper plant in Tuticorin following last week's violent protests over pollution concerns during which 13 people were killed in police firing.

Soon after the issuance of the Government Order (GO), top Tuticorin district officials sealed the copper smelter unit premises and pasted the order at the main gate.

Palaniswami told reporters in Chennai the "plant has been permanently closed".

The government's decision came a day ahead of the start of the state Assembly session where it is likely to face the wrath of the Opposition over the Tuticorin incident.

"Now the plant is permanently closed. The GO has been implemented," Tuticorin District Collector Sandeep Nanduri said.

Reacting to the closure, Vedanta Ltd termed it "unfortunate" and said it would decide the future course of action after studying the development.

"Closure of Sterlite Copper plant is an unfortunate development, especially since we have operated the plant for over 22 years in the most transparent and sustainable way, contributing to Tuticorin and the state's socio-economic development. We will study the development and decide on the future course of action," Vedanta Ltd said in a statement.

The Government Order (GO) cited the Constitution's directive principles of state policy (Article 48-A) enjoining protection of environment and provisions of the Water Act, 1974, to order the permanent closure of the copper factory "in the larger public interest".

It referred to the PCB order of 9 April refusing to renew its consent to allow Vedanta's copper smelter plant at Tuticorin to operate.

The order recalled how on 23 May the TNPCB had issued directions for closure of the unit and disconnection of power supply to it. The power supply was disconnected a day later.

KEY EVENT

Deputy CM Meets Families of Victims

On Monday, 28 May, Deputy CM Panneerselvam met those injured in last week's police-public clashes and firing at a government hospital in Tuticorin and asserted that the government will take "resolute" steps for the permanent closure of the copper plant.

"Today, the main demand of the people is that the copper plant should be permanently closed. In keeping with their demand, it is shut now. I would like to make it clear that the Sterlite plant will be permanently shut," he said.

Quoting Jayalalithaa's popular slogan of "Makkalal Naan, Makkalukagavey Naan (I am by the people and I am for the people)," Palaniswami said his was "Amma's government" that followed in her footsteps and was committed to the welfare of the people.

Reacting to the plants's closure, DMK working president M K Stalin said "It is an eyewash, a drama." Makkal Needhi Maiam chief Kamal Haasan described the closure as a victory brought about by the might of the people.

Top actor Rajinikanth, who is set to enter politics, said the closure was a "victory," adding it was dedicated to the people who lost their lives in the police firing.

KEY EVENT

All You Need to Know About Anti-Sterlite Protest

The locals were protesting for the closure of the factory for 99 days. Protesters turned violent on 22 May, the 100th day of their stir, and 13 people were killed in police action against them.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Palaniswami said people of Tuticorin were seeking permanent closure of the plant since it did not meet the environment-related conditions of the National Green Tribunal and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board.

Recalling the efforts initiated by late J Jayalithaa in 2013 for the closure of Sterlite plant following a gas leak incident that year, he said on 29 March, 2013, the unit's closure was ordered. Subsequently, power supply to it was discontinued and the unit was shut.

However, the plant approached the National Green Tribunal which allowed operations on 8 August, 2013, he said.

The government had appealed against this direction in the Supreme Court and its petition is pending there, he said.

On 9 April, the TNPCB had rejected a plea of the plant management for renewal of consent as pollution control norms were not being followed, and since 24 May the unit was not getting power and water supply, he said.

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