The chief minister has also announced a compensation of 10 lakh rupees (16,000 US dollars) for the families of each of the deceased.
Thousands of protestors assembled for hours in India's southern Tamil Nadu to demand the closure of a British-owned copper plant due to worries over pollution, Agence France-Presse reports. Security personnel used batons and burst teargas shells to break up the protest. Windscreens of some government cars were smashed and bank premises were attacked by the rampaging mobs. Reinforcements have been rushed from neighbouring districts to Tuticorin to assist the local administration in restoring normalcy. Actor Rajnikanth also took to Twitter and slammed the AIADMK.
Local residents have been protesting for months against the plant, which is operated by Sterlite Copper, a subsidiary of London-based Vedanta Resources. Will @CMOTamilNadu take action against DGP for failing to maintain law and order? "Tamils are being killed since they refuse to bow to the ideology of the RSS". Following a gas leak in March 2013, the then chief minister the late J Jayalalithaa, ordered its closure, following which the company moved the National Green Tribunal.
The locals are up in arms against the construction of the copper plant, claiming that it would pollute groundwater in their area and cause serious environmental hazards.
The deaths came on the 100th day of demonstrations against the plant, which environmentalists and residents say is contaminating water sources - a charge the company denies. "The plant should be shut down", opposition leader M.K. Stalin told the media.
Meanwhile, a commission headed by a retired High Court judge has been constituted to probe the incident. The 63-year-old leader consoled them and said that no amount of compensation given to those who had died would be enough. He called for the removal of state police chief T K Rajendiran. "Kumaraswamy" class="local_link" target="_blank">H.D. Kumaraswamy in Karnataka.
The Opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) came out strongly against the killings of protesters in police firing and compared the incident with Punjab's Jallianwalla Bagh massacre by the British, which took place almost a hundred years ago.
Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami ordered the judicial inquiry into the shootings but defended the police.