Thoothukudi protest: Toll rises to 13, TNPCB shuts power to Sterlite unit

Police personnel baton charge at a protestor demanding the closure of Vedanta's Sterlite Copper unit, in Tuticorin. Photo: PTI
The death toll in Thoothukudi, where public protest against a Sterlite Copper facility has led to police action in the past two days increased to 13 on Thursday, with one more person being declared dead. Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has directed to closure disconnected the power supply to the Sterlite copper refining plant.

According to reports from Thoothukudi, Selvasekar, who was injured during a clash with the police succumbed on Thursday morning in the district government hospital. The police-public clash resulted in 11 deaths on Tuesday and another firing incident on Wednesday resulted in one death. Several hundreds of people are admitted in hospitals with injury. The tension in the city continues on Thursday, affecting the normal life in the city and nearby villages.

TNPCB on Thursday issued an order directing a disconnection of power supply to the facility and an immediate closure of the factory and unit. It may be noted that the factory has not been operating since March 27, when it was shut down for maintenance. TNPCB has also refused to grant the factory a consent to operate (CTO) in the absence of clarifications.

Meanwhile, the construction work at the proposed second facility near to the existing one ceased on Wednesday following an order by the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court. The company said it would decide on further action on the issue after going through the details of the order.

Life in Thoothukudi continues to be affected for a third consecutive day, with shops remaining closed, people keeping themselves indoors, and police patrolling the area to stop people from forming groups in public places. The protest against police action spread across the state on Thursday, with demonstrations taking place in districts like Erode, Ramanathapuram and Tiruvarur. The authorities have also shut down internet connection in Thoothukudi and neighbouring districts, according to reports. 

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