Interim report of PUCL fact finding team about the ongoing Anti-Sterlite struggle at Thoothukudi.

6.08.2018

The FFT of PUCL had visited various places and met many persons at Thoothukudi and investigated about the Anti-Sterlite struggle for TWO days ( ie ) on 28.05.2018  and 29.05.2018.

Inferences of FFT

(1) The police firing during the struggle is totally unnecessary and uncalled for and it was undertaken without provocation.

(2) According to the information garnered by the FFT, the vanguard leaders of the struggle were targeted and they were attacked categorically. Moreover, the agressive action was carried out to plant paranoia among the masses and to implant an opinion that they should never venture a struggle again.It seems the police wanted to teach a bitter lesson to the people.

(3) On March 24th of 2018, a mammoth gathering was arranged to insist the long pending demand to close the Sterlite Copper smelting plant permanently. To strengthen the said demand, plethora of peaceful and non-violent struggles were going on in and around Thoothukudi and its hamlets for the last 99 days. Demanding the same goal, the people of the seashore town announced that they are going to inhabit the collectorate on May 22nd onwards. Transgenders, elders and  women with kids participated in the struggle. This itself clearly shows that there is no violent intention among the masses.

(4) In order to justify the unnecessary police firing, the authorities deviously declare that the people assembled in the rally had dreadful weapons in their possession and they instigated violence in the procession.This is totally a fabricated story and a mendacious propaganda.In fact, the police shooting is a planned massacre.

(5) When the people gave petitions avouching their demand of closure of Sterlite factory, the authorities had not intiated any tangible action.The officials had not met the people not even once and they simply ignored the toiling masses. The State government also turned a deaf ear to the demands of the people.So basically these are the reasons for the simmering anger of the people.

(6) The concerned authorities must publish a White paper regarding the number of persons incarcerated, the details of the people who were suffering in various hospitals and the exact number of people who were shot down by the police.

(7) The people from different areas unanimously confirm that they had witnessed fire inside the collectorate before they entered the premises. Moreover the people very generously helped the marooned  policemen to safer shelters, before the police battalion attacked the masses.

Recommendations of FFT

(1) The officials who had ordered to shot the people illegally must be suspended immediately and proper cases must be registered on them.

(2)The recent Government order issued by the Tamil Nadu government will not stand in the court, since it has not given any scientific proof to close down the Sterlite factory. Instead, it has simply mentioned  “public interest” , as the root cause for the closure of the factory. It is totally not enough. Moreover the G.O. had been issued on the basis of Water and Air Pollution Act. But it should be promulgated under the Environment Protection Act. So the G.O. will not solve the problem.

(3) Firstly, the evil effects of Air, Water and the Health hazards of the Sterlite factory must be prepared and it should be substantiated with sinewy facts.

(4) Secondly, a show cause notice must be issued to the factory on the basis of studied facts.

(5) Next, proper enquiry must be conducted on the explanation of the company and the permanent evil effects and losses must be established.

(6) Then only the factory can be closed forever. PUCL observes such a methodical and legal procedures have not been carried out by the Tamil Nadu government.

(7) The G.O. is issued by the government to hoodwink and divert the upsurge of the people. Hence PUCL confirms that the G.O. will not serve any purpose.

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