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TN toll rises, Thoothukudi tense

Thoothukudi (Tamil Nadu), May 24: Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi remained tense for the third day on Thursday as one more person injured in police firing in protests against the Sterlite factory died, taking the toll to 13. Selvasekar succumbed to his injuries in the district hospital, as the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board issued an order to disconnect power supply to Sterlite and to close the plant with immediate effect.

Normal life was affected in Thoothukudi, with shops closed and people remaining indoors even as the protest against police action spread across the state on Thursday, with demonstrations in districts like Erode, Ramanathapuram and Thiruvarur. In Thoothukudi, police have stepped up patrolling to stop people from forming groups in public places while internet connection has been shut in the district and neighbouring areas.

On Tuesday, police firing killed 11 people, most of them from nearby villages who were demanding the closure of the Sterlite Copper smelter plant they said was destroying the farm lands and leading to severe health issues in the area. Another person was killed on Wednesday in fresh firing while hundreds of injured are admitted in hospitals. Meanwhile, construction work for a proposed second facility near to the existing unit was stopped after an order by the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Wednesday. The company said it will decide on further action after going through the order. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita