That when masses of people, after having had no response from the most insensitive Government of Tamil Nadu during the one hundred days when they were peacefully agitating demanding the closure of the Sterlite Copper Smelting plant on the grounds that its existence had become a serious health hazard, were marching towards the plant office demanding its closure, were subjected to sudden police firing speaks volumes on the present Tamil Nadu State Government, its utter lack of concern for the welfare of its own people and its scant respect for their feelings. In its suddenness and ferocity, the unexpected police firing reminded people of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919 when a tyrannical British General went on firing shots on helpless Indian masses who had peacefully assembled on the ground.
But the Tamil Nadu Police on 22nd May even out did General Dyer in ferocity and blind fury. Videos and photographers show trigger happy policemen going round in their vehicles shooting at anyone in sight. There was no rioting whatsoever. No one seems to have launched any attack on any authority, police or otherwise. How can anyone justify police firing on people who are running away, or at a person who is harmlessly standing at a distance? There are clippings of single unarmed men surrounded by murderous policemen who club him to death and leave the body on the spot. These blood curdling episodes have moved the government to action and the Chief Minister has ordered the closure of the plant.
Does the Chief Minister mean what he says? The leader of the opposition calls it play acting and an eyewash as Sterlite management has announced its decision to take the matter to the court. Will it have any bearing on the outcome is an altogether different matter.
The massacre on Sterlite, the corporate member of multinational group, Vedanta has echoed at London. Vedanta is a major multinational company that for years has operated illegal mining concerns trashing the environment and forcibly evicting local people.
The Shadow Chancellor of Labour Party, the opposition in England has called for Vedanta Resources to be delisted from the London Stock Exchange to ‘remove its cloak responsibility’ following the killing of protestors in police firing in Tuticorin.
Why wait till then, ask the people of Tuticorin. Reclaim the land allotted to Sterlite with immediate effect so that they will pack off. But who said the AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu has the welfare of the people in mind?
The future looks bleak. How far the people can go on fighting?