In a decent world, this day would never have come. But we don’t live in a decent world, do we? The Toothukudi killings claimed the lives of 10 people in Tamil Nadu for protesting against a company named Sterlite Copper which is owned by Vedanta.
Why were these people protesting?
Source: AatiShiva on Twitter
These protests were not a surprise. There have been continues protests for over 100 days against the Sterlite Copper. According to the protesters, Sterlite Copper has been polluting the air, water and land of the city and many people are facing health problems because of it. The protesters alleged that the company, which makes around 400,000 tonnes of copper per year, has repeatedly ignored health and safety laws and exceeds pollution limits.
This may be very true as heavy traces of Sulphur Dioxide and Iron Oxide have been found in the air of Thoothukudi. The number of people that live in the 10 KM radius of the factory is more than 500,000. There’s also an increased number of health cases including lung diseases, heart diseases and even deformities in newborns.
Why did the police open fire?
According to the police, around 20,000 people took out a procession towards the district collectorate after they were denied permission to march to the copper smelter plant. The protest soon turned violent and the protesters started pelting stones, destroying vehicles and even setting them on fire.
^This is what the police has said.
How is this all related to Vedanta?
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Vedanta owns Sterlite Copper. Vedanta is quite infamous for its unethical means of doing business. The Government of Norway has openly said that Vedanta uses unethical practices and repeatedly breaches environmental laws. You can find all the information here.
It has also been accused of breaching environmental laws, human rights laws, and quite a few other things. I mean, The Independent named it the most hated company in the world. That is not an easy feat.
Sounds pretty evil, right? Who would want to associate with them?
Oh, I don’t know. Maybe the 2 biggest political parties in India?
Vedanta is one of the top donors to both BJP and Congress. Connect the dots yourself. Now, do you understand why the open fire? Why such brutality?
Vedanta was (is?) planning to double its production in Tamil Nadu. But the protests were getting in their way. When they got violent, it provided the perfect opportunity to do it. And what better institution to do it than one that’s government approved?
Oh look, the cops even said that “At least one of them should die.” And they all targeted faces and chests, instead of legs which could have done an equally effective job in stopping them.
“Kill 10 and you could scare a thousand.” That’s how fear works.
The corporates win yet again. The political parties for whom you’re willing to die and kill are getting funded by these corporates and the average Indian life is worth less than dog’s piss. The Toothukudi killings are a glaring reminder of that.
Did it make you sad? Don’t be. You’ll forget about it in a week.