CM’s announcement on closure an eyewash, says Vaiko

Warns he would lay siege to Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi

Updated - May 26, 2018 07:58 pm IST

Published - May 26, 2018 09:25 am IST - TIRUNELVELI

 MDMK general secretary Vaiko staging a road roko in Tirunelveli on Friday.

MDMK general secretary Vaiko staging a road roko in Tirunelveli on Friday.

Terming Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami’s statement on the closure of Sterlite Copper an eyewash, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) leader Vaiko has warned that he would mobilise people to lay siege to Sterlite Copper if either the government or the court permitted it to continue to operate.

Speaking to reporters here on Friday after courting arrest during a protest at the Tirunelveli junction against the killing of 13 persons in police firing during the anti-Sterlite agitation in Thoothukudi, Mr. Vaiko said Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami’s assertion that his government would not support any project that was being opposed by the public was an eyewash. The disconnection of water and power supply to Sterlite Copper could not be viewed as a first step towards its permanent closure, he added. “If Mr. Palaniswami was really serious about ensuring the closure of this unit, he should have visited Thoothukudi and met the victims of the riot,” Mr. Vaiko said.

Pointing out that he had been protesting against Sterlite Copper since 1996, the MDMK leader said he had been arrested on six occasions for staging protests against the copper manufacturing unit. “I will mobilise a few lakh people and lay siege to Sterlite Copper to ensure its permanent closure,” he said.

The people, who were protesting peacefully against the copper manufacturing unit, were hunted down by the police mercilessly, with the objective of crushing the ongoing “people’s protest” against Sterlite Copper, he said. “While 13 protesters were killed in police firing, no policeman lost his life in the violence, as the protesters were not carrying weapons. Hence, it [the police firing] is a pre-planned murder, which cannot be justified by any means,” Mr. Vaiko said.

On the deployment of paramilitary forces in riot-hit Thoothukudi, the MDMK general secretary warned Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh against such a move.

“If you dare to deploy the paramilitary forces to crush the people’s protest and save Sterlite Copper, the situation will worsen and yield adverse results,” he said.

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