Shut down Sterlite Copper plant in Tuticorin immediately: CPI(M)

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The police's action of opening fire on protesters has come under heavy criticism from several quarters, with many even demanding that the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami-led government step down.

On Tuesday, 11 people were killed and more than 65 injured during protests against the construction of a new copper smelter by the Sterlite industries in Thoothukudi.

After the Makkal Needhi Maiam chief left, police in riot gear had tried to clear out protesters who'd gathered around the premises.

Protesters set vehicles on fire and threw stones at police, Palaniswami said in a statement. But before anything else, the government of Tamil Nadu should have the decency to declare an end to the toxic terrorism unleashed by Sterlite and permanently close down the polluting unit. "My thoughts & prayers are with the families of these martyrs and the injured".

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday issued a notice to the Tamil Nadu government over the death of 11 people who were allegedly killed in police firing during the violence at Tuticorin on Tuesday.

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In retaliation, police officials resorted to lathi-charge and tear gas to disperse the crowd to contain the situation.

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.

Fresh police firing took place in Anna Nagar, a locality in Tuticorin (also known as Thoothukudi), as public ire showed little sign of abating.

The plant has been closed since March, when it shut for maintenance, but it has since been denied an operating license over failure to observe environmental regulations, Reuters reported.