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Tuticorin, where the state declared a one way war against citizens on behalf of a multinational corporation

By Bhaskar Sur*
More than a decade back Rajni Kothari, the eminent Liberal political thinker, had to concede that the Indian state had lost its independence and was under the thumb of big corporates. Since then corporates have tightened their grip over the levers of the state. No Prime Minister so shamelessly acted as an ambassador of Reliance and Adani, and demeaned the chair as Narendra Modi.
Vedanta enjoys favour from across the political spectrum and for understandable reasons.
At Tutirocone their factory is polluting the air and the sea, endangering the lives and livelihoods of many. Vedanta got away with its enormous crimes for years, simply by bribing those in power. The popular rage was natural as it was the hundredth day of their agitation. It was against the stony indifference of a bribed and paralysed administration that kills. Bobby Kunhu, a legal activist, presents the picture with stark clarity and without any sentimentalism .This can only be written by someone whose heart bleeds but the pen remains steady:
“Few years back I had visited Tuticorin with Samarendra Das & Miriam Rose of Foil Vedanta. This was the first time that I was seeing the city through the lens of the corporate occupation that it was undergoing. Though it was always present I had never noticed it before - in the way I noticed then. It increased manifold as I talked to people – residents, workers – former and present. Every corner of the city was covered with Vedanta – the parks, the public spaces, the government hospital, the collectorate and most importantly the official and unofficial dump yards, Vedanta was omnipotent. Like I never noticed it in any of my previous visits to this beautiful coastal town - its own residents also never noticed the danger of the ticking time bomb they were sitting on.
“Except for few activists and residents directly affected by Vedanta, it was difficult to gather people to see the dangers this company was posing to the town environmentally and politically. The town was run by the company, the government, the political parties, the media – almost everybody in the payroll of the company or scared of taking it on. And there was no direct evidence because of the underhand methods of Vedanta.
“But the tables turned as people started mobilizing – bigger political parties in the opposition were forced to acknowledge a problem – even if they had been bankrolled by Vedanta in the past. And yesterday finally, the administration proved that what is happening in Tuticorin is no democracy or rule of the law - but sleazy murderous profiteering for Vedanta and the administration was willing to go to war for that.
"As of the last count 12 people had died in police firing. Even if the crowd turned violent as some sections of the media wants us to believe (without even bothering to consider investigating whether the violence was instigated), couldn't the police have used lesser means of force to disperse them. Where is the proof that there was a threat to police life? How many police personnel were injured and what are the nature of their injuries. In fact, it has been caught on camera a policeman being ordered to kill at least one person. What does that order mean?
“These simple questions would expose on whose behest the shooting was done and the reticence of the government in taking action. The complicity of some of the media in this entire exercise is disgusting. The Hindu right in its front page uses a tone that very subtly justifies the police violence by attributing it to the crowd turning unruly.
“In short - what happened in Tuticorin is that the state declared a one way war against the citizens on behalf of a multinational corporation!”
***
[The meme above, also from Bobby's wall, presents the situation with a touch of black humour. The suited man at bottom Anil Agarrawal is the owner of Starlite. He supports the Prime Minister and the Chief minister mounted on his shoulders.The trigger happy police man carries out his order]
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*Source: Bhaskar Sur’s Facebook timeline

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