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Tuticorin factory currently non-operational: Sterlite Copper

Tuticorin factory currently non-operational: Sterlite Copper”

The Sterlite Copper plant and its proposed expansion in Thoothukudi invited several protests by locals and others who allege that the plant was polluting groundwater in their area.

"We were forced to fire rubber bullets which unfortunately hit one man in the spine and he died", he added.

People pelt stones during a protest against the construction of a copper smelter by Vedanta Resources from the road, in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu, India in this still image from May 22, 2018 video footage. DMK leader M K Stalin is also slated to head for Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu later in the day.

"The situation is tense, but under control", said an official at the Thoothukudi police control room, who did not wish to be named as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Thousands of local residents participated in Tuesday's protests, which turned violent after the police barricaded the route to the collector's office.

The deaths came on the 100th day of demonstrations against the plant, which environmentalists and residents say is contaminating water sources - a charge the company denies. "Why were automatic weapons used to disperse the crowd and under what law is this permitted?"

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Most of the injured are civilians but 36 policemen also suffered injuries of various kinds in mob fury, official sources said. Rahul Gandhi, leader of the opposition Indian National Congress party, called the incident "state sponsored terrorism". Nine people died nearly instantly in police firing. The plan entails to doubling of the capacity of its copper smelter to 800,000 tonnes per year.

Tweeting in Tamil, Rahul extended his support to the protesters and said that (PM) Modi's bullet can not crush them.

It was shut briefly after an alleged gas leak in March 2013 that left hundreds with breathing difficulties, nausea and throat infections.

The Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday had ordered a judicial inquiry into the police firing in the state's Toothukudi.

The company maintains that it adheres to environmental standards and said it was the victim of "false propaganda" about its operations.

Vedanta shares were down 7.3 percent in London trading as of 1300 GMT. The stock had opened at 263 rupees per share.



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