Skip to main content

Tamil Nadu: 15 workers' death due to hazardous working conditions at Sterlite preceded 11 gunned down by cops

By Our Representative
The view has grown that Tuesday's shooting in Tamil Nadu, which led to the death of 11 persons, including a 17-year-old girl, was the culmination of over two decades of "blatant" disregard for the lives and well-being of the people and protecting corporate interests. The company which is in the eye of storm following the shootout, Sterlite, was allotted land in Maharashtra in 1992, but was shifted to Tamil Nadu due to massive protest by the people of Ratnagiri.
A top civil rights networking organization, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), has said that the genesis and growth of Strelite in Tamil Nadu is "an example of how the deep crony capitalism is entrenched in our system", underlining, "The project received environmental clearance in January 1995, even before the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA)."
Pointing out that "there have been periodical complains made to the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) on health issues caused gas leak, draining toxic waste along with rainwater, polluting the groundwater", NAPM has said in a strongly-worded statement, "But each time Sterlite got a clean chit."
The statement has been signed, among others, by Medha Patkar of the Narmada Bachao Andolan; Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey and Shankar Singh of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan and National Campaign for People’s Right to Information; Prafulla Samantara of the Lok Shakti Abhiyan; Meera Sanghamitra and Rajesh Serupally of NAPM Telangana-Andhra Pradesh; and Dr Binayak Sen of the Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties.
"In 2013, the Supreme Court on hearing the people of Thoothukudi, gave a severe indictment to the company, but refused to shut it down", said NAPM, even as demanding a court-monitored judicial inquiry by a retired Supreme Court judge and action against senior political leaders, officials responsible for the "massacre".
NAPM said, the "violence" by the Tamil Nadu Police, during the "largely peaceful protests" against the Sterilite Copper Plant of Vedanta Pvt Ltd in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu, follows people of Thoothukudi agitating against the pollution of ground water and air by the copper smelter for years.
The current phase of protest,it said, started in early March when the expansion of Sterlite plant to double capacity was announced. On the 100th day of protest, i.e. May 22, against Sterlite, thousands of people of Thoothukudi took out a pre-announced march towards the collectorate. The march was to reiterate their demand to shut down the existing copper smelter, causing severe pollution and health hazards.
"The Tamil Nadu police lathi charged, exploded tear gas shells and smoke bombs at the protesters without provocation", claimed NAPM, adding, "When people ran towards the collectorate, during which time certain government vehicles were reportedly torched, the police opened fire killing 11 people and injuring several others."
"Over 3,000 police personnel, including commandos with self-loaded rifles, were deployed to bring the ‘situation under control’," said NAPM, adding,"Reports from the ground account for police chasing and unprovoked shooting at men and women and into fishing hamlets. There are videos of police personal shooting from a safe distance atop vehicles and armed with lathi entering hospital and beating up the injured!"
On March 24, 2018 a similar protest was called, participated by tens of thousands of people, with no untoward incident. This forced TNPCB and the Rural Development Officer (RDO), to take groundwater samples from seven locations within Sterlite factory premises and eight from villages around the factory.
The results revealed widespread and high levels of contamination in all 15 groundwater sources. Levels of the neurotoxin heavy metal lead, which is particularly toxic to children, were found to be between 4 and 55 times higher than levels considered safe for drinking water. The company has been shut down many a time through court orders for violation of environmental safeguards, since 1998.
Pointing out that "at least 15 workers have died and many have been injured due to hazardous working conditions", NAPM said,"We saw similar brute force and false charges used to curb the Koodankulam anti-nuclear protests. Similarly the same brutality was shown in curbing the Jallikattu movement."
Calling upon the Tamil Nadu government to honour the interim order of the Madras High Court issued onm Wednesday to stall all works of the plant and conduct a public hearing, NAPM demanded immediate disbursement of at least Rs 1 crore compensation to the families of each of the deceased persons, Rs 50 lakhs to each of the severely injured persons and a permanent government job to at least one member in the family of each of the deceased.
Also asking registration of FIR under Section 302 IPC against the senior officials as well as political leaders, "without whose facilitation and orders, the planning and executed these shootings and killings would not have happened", NAPM said, "The Government of Tamil Nadu has lost its ethical right to govern the state."

Comments

anvianu said…
I just needed to record a speedy word to express profound gratitude to you for those magnificent tips and clues you are appearing on this site.
fire and safety course in chennai
safety course in chennai

TRENDING

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative  One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk “Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

Youngest of 16 activists jailed for sedition, Mahesh Raut 'fought' mining on tribal land

By Surabhi Agarwal, Sandeep Pandey* A compassionate human being, always popular among his friends and colleagues because of his friendly nature and human sensitivity, 33-year-old Mahesh Raut, champion of the democratic rights of the marginalised Adivasi people of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, has been in prison for over two years now.

#StandWithStan: It's about Constitution, democracy and freedom of expression

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  It is more than three weeks now: On the night of October 8, 2020, the 83-year-old Jesuit Fr Stan Swamy was taken into custody by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) from his residence in Ranchi to an undisclosed destination. According to his colleagues, the NIA did not serve a warrant on Fr. Stan and that their behaviour was absolutely arrogant and rude.

Human development index: India performs worse than G-20 developing countries

By Rajiv Shah A new book, “Sustainable Development in India: A Comparison with the G-20”, authored by Dr Keshab Chandra Mandal, has regretted that though India’s GDP has doubled over the last one decade, its human development indicators are worse than not just developed countries of the Group of 20 countries but also developing countries who its members.

Stan Swamy vs Arnab Goswami: Are activists fighting a losing battle? Whither justice?

By Fr Sunil Macwan SJ* It is time one raised pertinent questions over the courts denying bail to Fr Stan Swamy, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and granting it to Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the Republic TV, arrested under the charge of abetting suicide of Avay Naik, who ended his life in 2018. It is travesty of justice that a human rights activist is not only denied bail but is also made to wait for weeks to hear a response to his legitimate request for a straw to drink water, while Arnab Goswami walks free.

India among heavily impacted by Covid-19, China 'notoriously' evading transparency

By NS Venkataraman* With the year 2020 inevitably ending in the next few weeks, the thought amongst the people all over the world is whether the coming year 2021 will be free of Covid-19 (often dubbed as Wuhan virus, as it known to have spread from Wuhan in China).In the early 2020, many people thought that Covid-19 would be a localized affair in China but later on, it proved to be a global pandemic.

Namaz in Mathura temple: Haridwar, Ayodhya monks seek Faisal Khan's release

By Our Representative As many as 23 members of the Hindu Voices for Peace (HVP), including the founder president of the well-known Haridwar-based Matri Sadan Ashram, Swami Shivananda Saraswati, and a one of its top monks, Brahmachari Aatmabodhanand, have expressed their “dismay” over the arrest of Khudai Khidmatdar chief Faisal Khan and three others on charges of “promoting enmity between religions” and “defiling a place of worship” after they offered namaz in Mathura’s Nand Baba temple premises on October 29.

Government of India 'refuses' to admit: 52% of bird species show declining trend

Finn's Weaver  By Our Representative The Government of India has been pushing out “misleading” data on the country’s drastic wildlife decline, says a well-researched report, pointing towards how top ministers are hiding data on biodiversity losses, even as obfuscating its own data. It quotes “State of India’s Birds Report 2020” to note that of the 261 out of 867 bird species for which long-term trends could be determined, 52% have declined since the year 2000, with 22% declining strongly.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".