Anti-Sterlite protest in 16 U.S. cities

Tamil diaspora comes out strongly in support of the people of Thoothukudi

Updated - April 04, 2018 07:32 pm IST

Published - April 04, 2018 08:05 am IST - Thoothukudi

 Tamil diaspora at a anti-Sterlite protest in North Carolina, USA.

Tamil diaspora at a anti-Sterlite protest in North Carolina, USA.

Even as people from various walks of life are taking part in the ongoing anti-Sterlite protest, the Tamils of the United States of America too have expressed their solidarity with the protesting citizens of the port town by organising demonstrations there.

Anti-Sterlite protests have started sweeping across the United States of America, with the Tamil diaspora coming out strongly in support of the people of Thoothukudi. Using social media tools, a group of dedicated volunteers organised the protests in 16 different cities.

There were huge turn-outs in many cities including Dallas, Chicago, Morrisville (North Carolina), Houston, Atlanta, New York and Washington DC where Tamils living in these cities spontaneously turned up for the protests and raised slogans in support of the people of Thoothukudi.

There were speeches to explain the intricacies of the issue and discussions on how to support the people of Thoothukudi in their just demand to prevent the expansion of Sterlite copper smelting unit and permanently shut it down.

In the demonstration organised at Morrisville, North Carolina, the protests were led by Joseph Prem Anand and Aruljothi Muralidharan, who are originally from Thoothukudi.

Speaking to The Hindu , Joseph Prem Anand said that Thoothukudi was at a turning point where the local people have realised that the “mindless industrial expansion” had resulted in a devastating damage to the environment amidst rampant pollution.

“There has been hardly any job creation for the local population nor have their standard of living improved. This is in spite of the health hazards they have been subjected for long.

We’ve come out in support of the citizens of Thoothukudi in their fight for a cleaner environment and reverse the effects of the environmental damage that has occurred in the region,” Mr. Prem said.

“The Tamil Diaspora in the United States has a track record of successfully taking up social causes in Tamil Nadu and bringing attention to them.

They had helped spread the word on Jallikattu and NEET issues through innovative usage of social media in an apolitical manner.

For the Sterlite issue, the Tamil Diaspora has formed a coordination committee which as a first step is planning to submit a petition signed by Tamils living in the US, seeking the shutdown of the Thoothukudi Sterlite plant.

The petition will be submitted to the Indian High Commission in the United States as well as to other governmental and international humanitarian agencies,” Mr. Prem said.

The coordination committee is also planning to work closely with the people leading the protests in Thoothukudi and provide them support.

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