Tamil Nadu anti-Sterlite protests: Death toll mounts to 10

Tamil Nadu anti-Sterlite protests: Death toll mounts to 10

Rahul Gandhi, leader of the opposition Indian National Congress party, called the incident "state sponsored terrorism".

The state's chief minister, Edappadi K. Palaniswami, said police had been forced to act after the protests turned violent, and that nine people had been killed.

The Tamil Nadu police have shot at least 10 people in Tuticorin to crush a massive people's movement that has been demanding, for years now, that the highly polluting and illegally operating Sterlite copper smelter of the infamous Vedanta group must be shut down.

On Tuesday, a crowd waving black flags stormed the district government headquarters and an apartment block for Vedanta employees, a company official said, declining to be named for fear of being targeted. The sheer brutality of the police action reminds one of the manner in which the Jallikattu protests were dealt with.

Public transport has been suspended from Thoothukudi to other parts of Tamil Nadu.

Chennai: Bodies of the individuals who were killed in Tuesday's anti-Sterlite protest in Thoothukudi will be preserved until further orders, the Madras High Court said on Wednesday.

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"Yes, the situation is tense but it is under control", a senior police officer said.

Fresh police firing took place in Anna Nagar, a locality in Tuticorin (also known as Thoothukudi), as public ire showed little sign of abating.

Meanwhile, protesters have also torched a police bus.

Thousands of protesters participated in the rally calling for the closure of the Sterlite copper plant, which posed health threats besides causing damage to the environment.

"We would like to restart the plant as soon as possible, in a peaceful manner", P. Ramnath, chief executive of Vedanta Ltd's copper business, told Reuters.

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