Published: Sat, June 02, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Sterlite plant closure may turn India into copper importer

Sterlite plant closure may turn India into copper importer

Chennai: The Madras High Court asked for an explanation from the Tamil Nadu government on what led to the police firing and the violent clashes over a controversial copper plant in which 13 people died last week.

Earlier Chief Minister K. Palaniswami told the media that people in Thoothukudi had been protesting peacefully for long against the company, alleging that it was causing health hazards and depleting the water table, but this time, the opposition and "anti-social elements" had turned the movement violent. The latest agitation was peaceful for 99 days and the violence occurred on the 100th day, owing to the anti-social elements, she said referring to the May 22 and 23 incidents.

The deadly protest against a copper smelting plant in the city caused authorities to shut it down. "Rajinikanth spoke with clear conscience when he said anti-socials had infiltrated the anti-Sterlite protest and that must be welcomed", said the AIADMK official organ "Namadhu Puratchithalaivi Amma" in its Thursday morning edition.

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However, the state police explained that they had no choice except opening fire as the crowd started overturning vehicles, committing arson and resorted to vandalism.

What makes Rajinikanth a superstar at 62? Most of the political class in Tamil Nadu, apart from some social activists and even the public - particularly the left leaning - slamming him as being insensitive to people's struggle against a "marauding corporate". The actor also said that Tamil people shouldn't be protesting for everything, they should approach judiciary.

In 2016, his film Kabali swept India with hundreds of thousands of fans flocking to cinemas across the country. Clashes broke out again, two days later. In December 2017, he announced that he was entering regional politics which made national headlines.

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