Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan visited Kumarareddiapuram village in Tuticorin on April 1, to express solidarity with those protesting against the existing Sterlite Copper smelter plant and its proposed unit near here.
Residents of Kumarareddiyapuram have been demanding that the plant be shutdown immediately. They have been protesting for the past 48 days citing health concerns. Haasan, who got into the political arena with the launch of his party Makkal Neethi Mayyam, told the protesters: “The lives of people are more important than the money from copper.”
The actor-politician said he had not come to Tuticorin for publicity. “My name is Kamal Haasan... For me being humane is more important than being an actor. I am a Tamilian first. I have not come here as a politician. I have not come here for publicity. I have had enough publicity already,” he said.
Haasan said injustice had been done to the people of Tuticorin by establishing the Sterlite unit. The Sterlite unit “showed the cruel face of business... showed the greedy face of business”, he added. He said the central and state governments had not heard the voice of the people and that “the people should make them hear now.”
Sterlite Copper’s unit was shutdown on March 29 for 15 days for taking up maintenance work. Actor Rajinikanth took a dig apparently at the the ruling AIADMK on March 31, over the issue of the expansion of the copper smelter plant, saying the government was not responding to the protests by locals.