It is highly unlikely that by now you haven’t heard of the terrible shooting of anti-Sterlite protesters by the Tamil Nadu police in Thoothukudi where at least 12 people have been killed and over 60 have been injured. This image must have certainly made its way to your social media home pages by now.
Dated 22 May 2018, it shows a police personnel taking aim and shooting at those protesting against the copper smelting plant at Thoothukudi. But why are people protesting?
Well, activists in Thoothukudi have been accusing Sterlite for over two decades of contaminating the region’s air and water resources. The smelter’s main pollutants are sulphur dioxide and particulate matter and have caused the health of people living in the area to deteriorate.
22 May, when the first round of shootings took place that killed 11 protestors, was the 100th day of protests against Sterlite.
Here’s an (incomplete) list of readings to better understand what is happening in Thoothukudi.
1. A short explanation of why the people of Thoothukudi want the Sterilite plant shut down
2. A history of Sterlite’s involvement in the area and the events that led to the ongoing protests
3. What the police are legally supposed to do for crowd control and what they did in Thoothukodi — an explainer
4. A Twitter thread explaining what both BJP and Congress have gained from Sterlite and why we need transparency in political funding
5. Yet another horrific video of how callously the police treated the victims of their shooting
6. A piece questioning whether the massacre was an intelligence failure or outright assault
7. An explainer about the extent of pollution and the effects it is having on the people in the region
8. How Vedanta Limited, of which Sterlite Copper is a unit, even got permissions for the plant. A piece about what the activists are saying
9. A Twitter thread about how Ratnagiri got rid of Vedanta in 1993
10. A tweet with a ground report video:
11. An interview with the CEO of Sterlite where he says exiting Thoothukudi isn’t on the cards