TN government appoints retired HC judge to probe Tuticorin firing

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The police action followed months-long agitation demanding the closure of Vedanta's Sterlite Copper unit in Tuticorin, about 600 km from Chennai over pollution concerns.

He said police had been forced to act "since protesters disregarded a curfew, acted against the advice of police", and indulged in violence.

The turmoil continued on Wednesday as leaders from the Opposition made their way to Tuticorin, also referred to as Thoothukudi, to stage a demonstration against Vedanta Sterlite and the state government.

"The gunning down by the police of 9 people in the Sterlite protest in Tamil Nadu is a brutal example of state sponsored terrorism".

The Tamil Nadu government has appointed former Madras high court judge Aruna Jagadeesan to probe the violence and consequent police firing on Tuesday in which 10 people were killed.

"Every chota (small) chap now is making big noise-organising road blocks, damaging public property, paralyzing administration, packing away the IPL with snakes, et cetera, et cetera-and yet the police intelligence does not appear to be alert to its responsibilities of bringing to the notice of the government the potential trouble spots before the amber turns red". These citizens were murdered for protesting against injustice.

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Police then resorted to lathicharge and tear gas to disperse the crowd. Smoke rose from several parts of the city.

"Yes, the situation is tense but it is under control", a senior police officer said. "Sterlite Copper plant is non-operational".

Agarwal said Vedanta remained well-positioned to capitalise on India's growing resources demand.

Enraged over yesterday's killings, protesters took to streets and showered stones and brickbats at police, prompting security personnel to open fire at Anna Nagar, they said, according to a PTI report.

The plant was shut for more than two months in 2013 by an environmental court after residents complained about emissions.

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