Archive for May, 2018

Release TVK leader Velmurugan: FPR

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The Federation for People’s Rights (FPR) on Wednesday urged the Tamil Nadu government to withdraw the cases registered against Tamizhaga Vazhvurumai Katchi (TVK) president Velmurugan and release him forthwith.

In a statement on Wednesday, FPR secretary G Sugumaran said that the Tamil Nadu police opened fire on those who fought against sterlite factory, killing 13 including two women and injuring over 100. Mr Velmurugan, who went to Thoothukudi to console the affected, was arrested at the Thoothukudi airport on May 25. Later, he was charged in the Ulundurpet toll booth attack and lodged in the Puzhal prison.

Mr Velmurugan observed a fast in the prison and called off the stir on intervention from MDMK founder Vaiko. He is now being treated at the Stanley Medical College as both his kidneys are damaged.

Condemning the Tamil Nadu police atrocities, Mr Sugumaran demanded that he should be released forthwith.

UNI / 30.05.2018

Tuticorin Police Firing on the Protesters Against Sterlite Plant: NCHRO Statement

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NCHRO Statement on the Police Firing on the Protesters Against Sterlite Plant in Tuticorin

The people’s protest against the Sterlite copper smelter unit in the port town Tuticorin on Tuesday was handled in the most inhuman way by the Tamilnadu police. Till now the police firing has claimed at least twelve lives. More than sixty five people with serious bullet injuries are now treated in various hospitals in the town. The local people say that more number of people should have been killed since the whereabouts of many persons are not known for the past two days. High hit efficient sniper guns utilized in wars to kill the enemies were used by the police without following any protocols prescribed in the Tamilnadu Police Standing Order and the Police Training Manual. Most of the people killed are shot above their waists. A seventeen year old school girl has died with a bullet injury in her mouth. The police said that they started firing the people after they set fire to a building in the collector’s office. But they are not able to explain how the people with some combustible material in their hands were able to enter into the collectorate which was protected with three tier security.

The pollution causing smelter, which can produce 400,000 tonnes of copper cathode a year, is run by Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper unit controlled by Vedanta Ltd. The unit now plans to double the production capacity of the smelter to 800,000 tonnes per year. Now the plant has been shut since March 27 as the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board rejected Vedanta’s license to operate the smelter since the company had not complied with environmental laws. Sterlite has challenged it in the court. This is not the first time the plant has shut down. It remained shut for weeks in 2013 due to a case at the National Green Tribunal.

The local people demand the permanent closure of the smelter unit since the pollutants released by the unit spoil the environment and causes many diseases including cancer. The present struggle is going on for the past hundred days. On the hundredth day they announced a march towards the collector’s office for which the permission was not granted and prohibitory order under rule 144 had been declared. However the people decided to conduct the program and get arrested wherever they were stopped.

The entire happenings on May 22, including the brutal killing of more than twelve people, are not just due to the mishandling of the situation by the police. We strongly believe that this is a pre-planned murder, since both the central and state governments wanted to teach a lesson to the people that hear afterwards any such protests against corporate endeavors would be dealt only like this. Now, the corporate friendly Modi government had declared that it is ready to send central forces to ‘help’ the Tamilnadu government.

Our Demands:

The NCHRO demands that a judicial enquiry by a sitting high court judge from a neighboring state should be ordered immediately. We don’t believe in the enquiry by the retired judge ordered by the Tamilnadu Government.

The commission should enquire into i) whether necessary warnings were given and due police rules are followed before firing is started ii) why most of the people killed were shot in the upper portions of their body. iii) How in a random shooting most of the people killed were from a particular organisation.

If it is found that the police officers started firing the people without following the protocol, they should be suspended and criminal proceedings should be initiated against them.

Now the district police chief and the collector are transferred. We demand that they should be suspended and a departmental enquiry should be initiated.

All the people arrested should be released immediately and all the charges against them should be withdrawn.

A compensation of rupees one crore should be given to the families of each person killed in the shooting. A permanent government job should be given to one person from each family.

A compensation of rupees ten lakhs should be given to each injured in the shooting and the total bill for their complete treatment should be paid by the government.

The Sterlite unit in Tuticorin should be immediately closed permanently.

Regards

Prof. A. Marx
Chairperson, NCHRO
Mobile: 94441 20582

24th May 2018
New Delhi

Depute High Level Committee to probe Thoothukudi firing

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The Federation for People’s Rights (FPR) has urged the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to depute a high-level team to Thoothukudi to probe the police firing on anti-Sterlite protesters that claimed 11 persons. In a release, G. Sugumaran, secretary of FPR, said the local people had been staging peaceful protests for the last 100 days.

Mr. Sugumaran said the police had used excessive force and opened fire on the protesters without pacifying them through talks. He alleged that the police action had been planned in advance as eight of the 11 victims who were killed in the gun fire were leading the protests in a peaceful way.

The Hindu / 24.05.2018

Trade Unions Slam Centre for its anti-people policies – The Hindu

Federation urge NHRC to hold inquiry into Thoothukudi firing

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Federation for People’s Rights here on Wednesday urged the National Human Rights Comission (NHRC) to conduct an inquiry by its high level committee into the police firing on the agitators, who demanded the closure of the United Kingdom-based Vedanta Group’s Sterlite Copper Smelter Plant at Thoothkudi.

Reports said, atleast eleven people were killed in the firing on Tuesday. However, official figure put at nine.

In a release here, Federation Secretary G Sugumaran said people of 21 villages around the Sterlite plant are agitating for the past 100 days for its closure since, it is polluting the environment there and causing health hazard to the people.

He charged that police straightaway resorted to firing to quell the mob without following any guidelines to control them.

The fact is that eight of the eleven killed in police firing were leading the agitation for the past 100 days clearly shows that this is a preplanned attack by the police. He said another two were killed in the firing by police when people blocked the car of District Police superintendent to seek justice after the situation came under control .

Mr Sugumaran demanded that murder cases be registered against the police personnel who opened fire on the people and on the officials who ordered the firing. A compensation of Rs 25 lakh be provided to the families of the victims and steps be taken for the permanent closure of Sterlite plant.

UNI / 23.05.2018