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Anti-Sterlite protest: NHRC notice to Tamil Nadu chief secretary, DGP

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INDIA-BRITAIN-ECONOMY-PROTEST-VEDANTAIndian protestors throw stones towards police officials in Tuticorin, during a protest rally held to demand the closure of a copper factory. / AFP PHOTO / ARUN SANKAR

New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission has sent a notice to the Tamil Nadu’s chief secretary and police chief over the killing of 10 people in police firing during an anti-Sterlite protest in Tuticorin.

Violence broke out yesterday during protest demanding the closure of Vedanta group‘s Sterlite Copper plant over pollution concerns with police opening fire, resulting in the death of 10 people. The overnight tensions spilt over to this morning.

“Reportedly, the protesters attacked the Collectorate building and the police personnel posted there, leaving a few cops injured and some vehicles burnt. Thereafter, the police retaliated with firing. The fleeing protesters were reportedly chased down and beaten up by the police,” the NHRC today said in a statement.


The rights panel said it has issued notices to the chief secretary and the director general of police seeking detailed reports in two weeks, along with the status of those who are being treated for injuries.

“The Commission expects that investigation into the matter will be conducted as per guidelines laid down in its letter dated May 12, 2010 addressed by the Chairperson, NHRC to the chief ministers of all states,” it said.

The NHRC has also observed that going by the contents of the media reports, “it appears that the authorities probably failed to foresee the tragic violence which took place”. The agitation that has been going on for over three months for the closure of Vedanta group’s Sterlite Copper plant over pollution concerns turned violent in Tuticorin yesterday.

“Keeping in view the simmering situation, effective precautionary measures and deployment of adequate number of police personnel may have possibly averted the unfortunate incident.

“It also appears from several media reports, including those on TV news channels, that the police resorted to firing on unarmed protesters without following the standard operating procedure, which tantamounts to serious violation of human rights and thus is a matter of concern for it,” the statement said.

Thousands of protesters had, reportedly, had gathered to mark the 100th day of the agitation at Kumarattiyapuram village on the outskirts of the city yesterday, it said.

The district administration had granted permission only for staging a protest at the SAV School ground which was turned down by a majority of the protesters following which, the district collector imposed regulatory orders under section 144 of the CrPC, and around 1,500 police personnel were deployed to maintain the law and order, it added.