Video: In Tamil Nadu police allegedly used assault rifles to shoot at protesters
Police allegedly used assault rifles to shoot at protesters in Tamil Nadu's Thootukudi, where 11 people died on Tuesday.
A video released by news agency ANI shows a man in civilian clothes taking position on top of what appears to be a police van. He is armed with an SLR (self-loading rifle).
A number of policemen in uniform mill about the van.
In the video, a voice in the background says, "At least one should die."
The man on top of the van fires.
Thousands of people had hit the streets of Thootukudi (earlier called Tuticorin) Tuesday. They were protesting against a Sterlite copper-smelting plant which they say has caused immense environmental damage. They also allege the plant has caused an outbreak of disease in the area.
Sterlite is owned by the Vedanta group.
The protests against the plant have been going on for years. In 2013, the Supreme Court ordered the company to pay a Rs 100-crore fine.
The protests against the plant erupted again in February when it announced that it was doubling its capacity.
Tuesday had been the 100th consecutive day of protest.
Who ordered the police firing on protestors? Why were automatic weapons used to disperse the crowd and under what law is this permitted? Why were rubber/ plastic bullets or other means NOT used to avoid fatal injuries? Why was no warning given before firing? #SterliteProtest— M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) May 23, 2018
Why was there not adequate police presence to maintain law and order during #SterliteProtest? Is it accurate to say that there was a total failure of State intelligence which led to these unfortunate deaths? Did IG-Intelligence brief police and @CMOTamilNadu on the situation?— M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) May 23, 2018
On Wednesday, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court stayed the plant's planned expansion.
And the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has asked the Tamil Nadu government for a report on the killings.
The National Human Rights Commission has also issued notices to the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police and asked for reports within two weeks.