A video shows a Tamil Nadu police personnel in plainclothes placing himself atop a police bus, a few meters away from where people had gathered to hold anti-Sterlite protest.
Other police men armed with assault rifles and clad in bullet-proof jackets are seen near the vehicle.
Soon another police official is seen climbing the van from behind and the policeman who was already on the vehicle was seen handing over his assault riffle to him.
According to a video released by news agency ANI, the policeman crawls the length of the bus in a few seconds and takes his position. And then a voice from the background makes a shocking statement: “At least one should die”.
Eleven people had died in Tuticorin during the anti-Sterlite protest on Tuesday. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisamy ordered an inquiry into Tuesday’s police action. Congress president Rahul Gandhi described the incident as a “murder” and “state-sponsored terrorism”.
16-year-old girl was among the eleven killed in police firing as the anti-Sterlite protests in Thoothukudi on Tuesday turned violent.
Starting from ‘Our Lady of Snows’ Church in the coastal area, 20,000 people marched to lay siege to the collector’s office. They were demanding permanent closure of the copper manufacturing company over pollution concerns.
The protests were going on in Tuticorin for over three months now, but violence erupted on Tuesday with agitators fighting pitched battles with police, prompting it to open fire. Hurling stones and setting government vehicles and public property on fire, the agitators went on the rampage in the town.
Chief Minister Palanisamy, who also holds home portfolio, announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the families of each of the deceased, and ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident.
Security has been beefed up in Thoothukudi following the clashes. Section 144 (prohibiting assembly of more than 4 people in an area) has been imposed in the city.
Meanwhile, Madras High Court’s Madurai bench will deliver interim order on the ongoing construction of a new copper smelter by Sterlite industries in Thoothukudi today.
The 100-day long protest has been supported by several celebrities including Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth.
Opposition leaders including M K Stalin of the DMK have blamed the ruling AIADMK government for ignoring the protests for 100 days because it was peaceful.
“The inaction of the government has led to the people’s protests and police resorting to firing to control it,” M K Stalin said, demanding that the plant be shut down immediately for good.
Kamal Haasan also blamed the government for ignoring peaceful protests. “Citizens are not criminals… They are the ones who lose their lives,” he said.
On Tuesday, Sterlite Copper in a statement said: “It’s with great sorrow and regret that we witnessed today’s incidents around the protest today at Tuticorin. The company has appealed to the government and authorities to ensure safety of our employees, facilities and surrounding communities. Sterlite Copper plant is non-operational”.