Tamil Nadu Police Kill 11 Persons Including “Revolutionary Youth Front”Leader Thamizharasan in Pre-planned Firing at Three Places On Demonstrators Protesting Against Environment Polluting “Sterling”Plant in Thoothukudi.

By Kavitha Muralidharan

Thoothukudi: In an unprecedented turn of events, at least 11 protesters were killed on May 22 in Thoothukudi after police opened fire at the protest rally demanding the closure of the Sterlite unit in the town. The protest by the people of Thoothukudi against Sterlite, which they have claimed is polluting the town and resulted in a higher incidence of cancer, had reached its 100th day on May 22.

This is the first time the Tamil Nadu government has responded to the protests.

Activists allege that three rounds of firing at different places by the police were only an attempt to “dilute the protests”. “There was an even bigger protest on March 24 in Tuticorin against Sterlite. But it was peaceful,” says Henry Tiphagne, the executive director of People’s Watch; he was present on the spot. “It is unfortunate that the state has failed to gauge the public mood. The people were angry but not violent. Certainly they were not angry against the government.”

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