Anti-Sterlite protests: Don't disturb families of missing accused in name of inquiry, says Madras HC to Tamil Nadu Police

Last month, as many as nine people were killed in police firing following protests for the closure of Vedanta group's Sterlite Copper plant over pollution concerns that turned violent.

Anti-Sterlite protests: Don't disturb families of missing accused in name of inquiry, says Madras HC to Tamil Nadu Police

CHENNAI: In the wake of the anti-Sterlite protest in Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin, Madras High Court on Friday directed the state police to not bother the families of missing accused in the name of inquiry.

Last month, as many as nine people were killed in police firing following protests for the closure of Vedanta group's Sterlite Copper plant over pollution concerns that turned violent.

Following the violence, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami had asked for "police action" and announced a judicial inquiry into the issue.

Detailing the events leading to the "unfortunate" deaths, he had said the protesters took out a procession towards the collectorate defying prohibitory orders in the area. They not only pelted policemen with stones but also set on fire their vehicles as well as those parked in the collectorate. They hurled stones at the collector's office, the CM said in a statement.

"The police had to take action under unavoidable circumstances to protect public life and property as the protesters resorted to repeated violence... Police had to control the violence. I was grieved to know nine persons were unfortunately killed in this incident," Palaniswami, who holds the Home portfolio, had earlier said. 

Expressing his sympathies and condolences for the families of those killed, he had also announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the families of each of those killed, Rs 3 lakh to those seriously injured and Rs 1 lakh for people who suffered minor injuries. The CM assured government jobs for one family member of each of those who lost their lives in accordance with their qualifications.

According to police, Section 144 of CrPc was invoked in and around the Sterlite unit to provide security to it as per the orders of the Madras High Court. 

However, angered over not being allowed to take out a rally, the slogan-shouting protesters forcibly tried to push back the security personnel in riot gear. They then started hurling stones at police and also overturned a vehicle after which the security personnel lobbed teargas shells to disperse them, police added, PTI reported.

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