The Union Home Ministry has sought detailed report from the Tamil Nadu government on Tuticorin incident where nine people were killed in police firing on Tuesday. The agitators were demanding the closure of Vedanta group’s Sterlite Copper plant over pollution concerns for the past 100 days.
Union Home Ministry officials said the ministry is in touch with the state government over the developments in the port town in the southern state.
On Tuesday evening, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami had ordered a judicial inquiry into incident.
According to the local police, nearly 5000 protesters had gathered near a local church and insisted on taking a out a rally to the district collectorate after they were denied permission to march to the copper smelter plant.
Initial pushing and shoving soon led to violent clashes, after agitated locals began hurling stones at police and overturned a vehicle. Security personnel used batons and burst teargas shells to break up the protest.
Many were injured in stone-pelting by the agitators, who also set some vehicles on fire. Windscreens of some government cars were smashed and bank premises were attacked by the rampaging mobs.
As the violence spiralled, police opened fire, which lead to the death of nine of people.
Meanwhile, a state minister said though the government appreciated the sentiments of the protesters, police firing had become “unavoidable”.
“Entering the collector’s office and (perpetrating) violence is not acceptable…. (police) firing became an unavoidable,” Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar told reporters in Chennai.
Reinforcements have been rushed from neighbouring districts to Tuticorin to assist the local administration in restoring normalcy. Some senior officials have also been despatched from Chennai to the strife-torn town to assess the situation and take measures to restore calm.
(With inputs from PTI)