Anti-Sterlite protest to hit 32,500 jobs at controversial Tuticorin plant

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Violence erupted Tuesday in Tamil Nadu state at a long-running demonstration demanding the closure of the smelting plant owned by British mining giant Vedanta Resources which residents say is causing environmental damage. Police said they were compelled to respond with live ammunition after demonstrators pelted police with stones, attacked a government building, and set vehicles on fire.

Sterlite is a unit of the firm Vedanta Ltd.

The same year, activists allege a gas leak from the plant left hundreds with breathing difficulties, nausea and throat infections.

The most recent controversy centres on an environmental clearance granted by the Union environment ministry to Sterlite Industries, now Sterlite Copper, in 2009 to expand the existing copper plant.

Meanwhile, the protests which have been on for almost 100 days, took a turn for the worse when protestors began ransacking and putting vehicles and public property on fire.

When asked who gave the orders for police firing, Palaniswami said: "When someone hits you, you naturally tend to defend yourselves; so on such situations, no one acts in a pre-planned manner". These citizens were murdered for protesting against injustice. In a video message on the social networking site Twitter, Agarwal said the company would like to continue the business at the plant with the "wish" of the community.

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"Some political parties and leaders had misguided the agitators against Sterlite. Taking moral responsibility, [Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu] Edappadi K Palaniswami should resign", local politician and a member of member of the Indian parliament Anbumani Ramadoss said, as cited by the Times of India.

In an official statement reported in the media, Sterlite Copper said: "It's with great sorrow and regret that we witnessed today's incidents around the protest today at Tuticorin".

The government of Tamil Nadu has lost its moral right to govern, and should at the very least ensure that the senior ministers who failed to read the signs properly and take preventive action resign.

The families of each victim would be offered one million rupees ($14,700) compensation, he added.

Norway's Council on Ethics, which makes recommendations to the pension fund, said it did a "particularly thorough assessment here" of Vedanta Resources in 2016 and found grounds to stay away from it. Edinburgh-based investment fund Martin Currie has also sold off its Vedanta shares on ethical grounds.

India's federal green court allowed it to be reopened. The latest protest turned violent as a crowd waving black flags stormed the district government headquarters and an apartment block for Vedanta employees.

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