The Madurai bench of Madras High Court has now stayed the construction of a copper smelter by the Sterlite industries, today. The decision will be crucial in the situation of the protests, that erupted in Thoothkundi, and caused the death of 11 protesters, as the police authorities opened fire on the mob. 76 people were reportedly injured because of the actions taken by the police, and the effects of the violence. The injured were taken to the Toothkundi Medical College and Hospital to get treatment, but an ambulance faced the wrath of the protesters, as they trashed it, even though it was sitting inside the premises of the hospital, and flung out the medicines that were stored inside it.
Section 144 of CrPC has been invoked in the entire area, because of the orders issued by the court. Sterlite Copper has stated that the company is not functioning yet, and that they’re expecting the approval by the concerned authorities. The site has been non-functional since 27 March. Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board had previously rejected its application for the renewal of the licence to begin work again on the site.
The corporation has expressed sadness on the situation and asked the government authorities to keep the law and order intact and the prioritize the safety of the employees and communities involved in the conflict. The local community had been protesting against the corporation for three months, but the situation erupted into violence, when they were denied the permission to walk toward the plant. The people retaliated with throwing stones at the police vehicles. Not content with just damaging the properties that were present around them, the protesters went to the collector’s office and torched all the vehicles that were standing inside. The police officials had to resort to lathi charge and tear gas to control the agitation.