Chennai: Despite facing backlash of epic proportions in the wake of police firing live rounds on protestors in Tuticorin on Tuesday and Wednesday, Tamil Nadu CM EK Palaniswami has instead blamed locals for getting violent and said they were misguided by 'certain political parties and anti-social elements.'
Police personnel fired from assault rifles to reign in a crowd of locals who were protesting against a copper smelting plant in Thoothukudi. For three months, the protestors had been blaming the plant for causing pollution in the area but things flared up exponentially on Tuesday. While the Home Ministry has asked Palaniswami for a detailed report, he told mediapersons on Wednesday afternoon that police officials had the right to defend themselves. "The entire episode which happened was primarily because of certain political parties, NGOs and anti-social elements who took protestors to a wrong path," he said. "If someone is attacked, the natural course would be to defend and safeguard themselves. This is what has been done by the police in response," he said. He however did not answer questions on why police used live rounds.
While 11 people have died and many more have been injured, 67 people have been arrested on charges of indulging in violence.
Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu have flayed Palaniswami for not handling the situation in an orderly manner. Earlier on Wednesday, DMK chief MK Stalin demanded the resignation of the CM and DGP Rajendran. He was also detained when he and party workers staged a protest outside Tamil Nadu Secretariate.
Meanwhile, internet services have been suspended for five days in Thoothukudi. But in what would be seen as good news by the protestors, a court order has prohibited any activity in the controversial copper smelting plant and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board has ordered power supply to here to be snapped.