HC stays expansion of Sterlite copper smelter plant

April FrancisMay 23, 2018

Thousands of protesters participated in the rally calling for the closure of the Sterlite copper plant, which posed health threats besides causing damage to the environment.

A day after 11 protesters were killed in police firing in Tamil Nadu's Thoothukudi, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday alleged that the people were "assassinated" because they refused to ascribe to the principles of RSS.

Chennai: Bodies of the individuals who were killed in Tuesday's anti-Sterlite protest in Thoothukudi will be preserved until further orders, the Madras High Court said on Wednesday.

The Madras High Court told authorities to hold a "mandatory" public hearing over Vedanta's application for environmental clearance and said a decision on environmental approval would be looked into by "appropriate authorities".

It has been officially announced that nine people were killed in police firing during the violence.

Amid severe outrage across the state over the killing of 11 protesters against Sterlite Copper run by Vedanta in Tamil Nadu's Thoothukudi, the Ministry of Home Affairs has asked the state government for a report on the incident. Environmental activists say the cooper plant is polluting local water resources, allegations the company denied as "false propaganda". They also set fire to a police bus and a van. The government committed a "Himalayan blunder" by handling the protest with 'guns and teargas shells, ' he said, adding at least a Minister accompanied by the district Collector should have spoken to the agitators.

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Police said they opened fire to control the situation.

The Tamil Nadu government ordered a judicial inquiry into the police firing on Tuesday. Expressing sorrow at the loss of lives, Sterlite in a statement said it has appealed to the government to ensure the safety of employees, facilities and the surrounding communities.

Vedanta shares were down over 4 percent as of 0700 GMT, after falling as much as 5.5 percent earlier in the session.

On NSE, shares of the company dropped 6% to Rs253.75.

The protests intensified after Vedanta, owned by Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal but with its head office in London, sought to double the 400,000-tonne annual capacity of the plant.

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