Madurai

Attempt to lay siege to Sterlite complex; 540 CPI (M) cadres held

THOOTHUKUDI

Police arrested 540 cadre of Communist Party of India (Marxist), including its State secretary K. Balakrishnan, when they tried to lay siege to Sterlite Copper complex on the Thoothukudi – Madurai Bypass Road on Wednesday as part of the ongoing agitation against the copper manufacturer.

The cadre, including Mr. Balakrishnan, senior party office-bearers U. Vasuki, R. Mallika, K.P. Perumal and K.S. Arjunan, marched towards the Sterlite Copper complex though the police, led by Superintendent of Police P. Mahendran, had erected barricades at three points on the busy road.

The protestors, after crossing two barricades, reached the third obstacle where the policemen in large number had been deployed. As the cadre pushed aside the steel barricade in a bid to make their way towards the factory complex, the police stopped them. As they could not move further, the cadre sat on the road and raised slogans against the plant.

The police arrested 540 protestors, including 150 women, even as the vehicles were waiting in a long queue.

Speaking to reporters before commencing the agitation, Mr. Balakrishnan said the CPI (M) would continue the agitation until Sterlite Copper, “causing a range of serious diseases to the people living in and around Thoothukudi”, was closed down permanently.

“We’ll stop the trucks carrying raw materials from Thoothukudi seaport to the factory. If the Government refused to close down this factory, we would mobilise the people and ensure its permanent closure.”

After boycotting classes, students of APC Mahalaxmi College staged a demonstration in front of their college.

Even as the residents of A. Kumareddiyarpuram and Pandaarampatti had already started their anti-Sterlite protest, villagers of South Veerapandiapuram, the closest hamlet to the factory premises, and Meelavittaan villagers also started their agitation.

Tiruchendur MLA and former Minister ‘Anita’ R. Radhakrishnan and chief coordinator of ‘Naam Thamizhar Katchi’ Seeman visited these hamlets and the protesting public.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 6:35:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/stir-against-copper-plant/article23436311.ece

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