More than two weeks after 13 people were killed in police firing during anti-Sterlite protests here, two deputy tahsildars who allegedly gave the order to the force to open fire, have been transferred. Deputy tahsildars Kannan and Sekar were transferred to Kayathaaru and Srivaikuntam respectively by District Collector Sandeep Nandoor, according to an official order.
Thirteen people were killed in the police firing on May 22 and 23 after protests for closure of the plant over pollution concerns turned violent in Tuticorin. The Tamil Nadu government last month appointed a one-person commission of inquiry headed by a retired judge of the Madras High Court to probe the violence in Tuticorin.
The State Human Rights Commission also has initiated an inquiry into the matter. On May 28, the government ordered the state pollution control board to seal and "permanently" close the Vedanta group's copper plant, following the violent protests. The following day Chief Minister K Palaniswami maintained in the assembly that police action was "unavoidable" and said action would be taken if anyone had handled the situation wrongly.
The issue continued to rock the assembly during the following days with the ruling AIADMK claiming that the main opposition party DMK had allotted land for expansion of the copper plant in Tuticorin district when it was in power during 2006-11.
The chief minister has listed out efforts by his government for permanent closure of the unit, including the 2013 action taken by J Jayalalithaa as then chief minister of Tamil Nadu. He had also accused DMK working president MK Stalin of allotting a 230-acre land for Sterlite expansion when he held the industries portfolio as deputy chief minister. The State Human Rights Commission also has initiated an inquiry into the issue.