The controversial yoga teacher and businessman posted a picture with Anil Agarwal, while he questioned the closure of the Sterlite plant in ‘South of India.’

Babas black sheep moment Ramdev backs Sterlite after meeting Vedanta bossTwitter/Yogrishiramdev
news Sterlite Monday, June 25, 2018 - 19:26

Controversial yoga teacher and saffron-clad businessman, Baba Ramdev, has raised the ‘foreign conspiracy’ bogey on Sterlite protests in Thoothukudi. Ramdev tweeted in support of Sterlite and Vedanta – and claimed that anti-Sterlite protestors were instigated by ‘international conspirators’ – right after he met with Vedanta’s Executive Chairman, Anil Agarwal, in London.

Ramdev tweeted a picture with Anil Agarwal and his wife, and said, “I salute his contribution in the national building process by creating lacs of jobs and economic prosperity.”

In the same breath, Ramdev also tried to discredit the Thoothukudi protests against Sterlite. “International conspirators created ruckus at one of Vedanta’s plant in South of India through innocent local people. Industries are the temples of development for the nation. They should not be closed,” Ramdev said. 

Ramdev’s comments had no context or reference to either the pollution caused by the company – because of which it was shut down by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board – or to the police shootout, that killed 13 people and injured several other on the 100th day of the protest. Nor did the tweets even mention Thoothukudi – the place where the industry is located – instead relegating the flashpoint to a generic ‘South of India.’

Sterlite Copper Plant in Thoothukudi has been in the eye of a storm for several months now, as the people of the district started protesting against the pollution due to the copper smelter. Several documents show that Sterlite did not follow environmental norms, especially regarding the height of the chimney stacks, as well as the green belt required around the plant in order to reduce the effects of the effluents released by the factory.

On the 100th day of the protest on May 22, however, the police shot at agitators at multiple spots in Thoothukudi, after some protestors reportedly resorted to stone pelting. Visuals from Thoothukudi showed some of the police officers in plainclothes taking aim with snipers and shooting at protestors. In the shootout, 13 civilians were killed, including a minor girl.

Sterlite’s smelter was shut down on May 28, after the TNPCB said that they were not following environmental norms. 

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