Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was imposed to avoid untoward incidents. But, for selfish reasons, the Opposition leaders decided to go ahead with protests, he added. “It is because of this instigation that people died. We are saddened by the deaths,” Palaniswami said.
He said Sterlite had approached the TNPCB in April to continue running smelter but was denied permission keeping in mind the people’s feelings. He said the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government had cancelled Sterlite’s permission during Jayalalithaa’s regime, but the management received a favourable order from the National
Green Tribunal that allowed the plant to run. The state government filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the order. The case is still pending.
The Federation of Tamil Nadu Traders Association called for a state-wide bandh on Thursday that received a mixed response. In most parts of Tamil Nadu, except in Thoothukudi and the surrounding areas, shops were open.
The Opposition parties have called for another state-wide bandh on May 25.
The TNPCB in its Wednesday order said to consent to operate was rejected due to non-compliance with certain conditions. However, the Sterlite management denied this and claimed it had complied with the regulations. The board said it had directed the firm to halt production. It alleged during an inspection in May, it found the unit was carrying out activities to resume its operations. It recommended an issue of direction for closure and disconnection of power supply to the unit.