The anti-Sterlite agitation which took a violent turn here on Tuesday, with 11 persons being killed in police firing on protesters marching to the Collectorate, claimed another life on Wednesday. The death toll from the two firing incidents has gone up to 12.
The State government replaced Thoothukudi Collector N. Venkatesh and Superintendent of Police P. Mahendran with Sandeep Nanduri and Murali Rambha respectively, and suspended Internet services in Thoothukudi, Kanniyakumari and Tirunelveli districts for five days to prevent the spread of rumours over WhatsApp.
Kaliappan, 22, of Thalamuthu Nagar in the town, died after police opened fire on a mob in Anna Nagar with rubber bullets on Wednesday.
He was shot in the neck and brought dead to the Thoothukudi Government Medical College Hospital, sources said.
Four persons also suffered injuries in a lathi charge.
Since prohibitory orders under Section 144 of Cr.P.C. promulgated by the district administration with effect from 10 p.m. on Monday, has been extended till May 25, security forces had their hands full dispersing groups of people who gathered in public places. They appealed through microphones to residents to remain indoors.
At the government hospital, panic prevailed after a few unidentified persons hurled a country-made bomb that exploded with a loud noise, just outside the campus.
Subsequently, the security forces fired tear gas twice to deter further attacks near the hospital.
Normal life continued to be disrupted, and there was scarcely any public transport on the roads.
Police sources said they have arrested 67 rioters for the damage caused to many government buildings and for setting 127 vehicles on fire.
Damage to property
On Wednesday, protesters also set ablaze two police buses, two government vehicles and a private vehicle, besides damaging CCTV cameras installed in Bryant Nagar.
Tasmac shops in Anna Nagar were damaged, the sources added.
The State government named retired High Court judge, Justice Aruna Jagadeesan, as head of the committee to conduct an inquiry into the firing incidents and submit a report. Senior IAS officers P.W.C. Davidar and Gagandeep Singh Bedi, who were appointed as monitoring officers by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, visited Thoothukudi on Wednesday.