“In which country does police take vantage positions and shoot at people? noted environmental activist Priya Pillai asked.

It was a planned massacre Bluru activists protest against Vedanta over killings
news Protest Friday, May 25, 2018 - 07:54

Protesting against the unprovoked killing of at least 13 unarmed anti-Sterilite protesters in Thoothukudi by Tamil Nadu police, activists gathered peacefully in Bengaluru on Friday.

“Down, down Vedanta.. kick out Anil Agarwal..down, down Tamil Nadu government..chief minister of Tamil Nadu resign, resign,“  shouted the protesters. The demonstrators also pointed out how both Congress and the BJP had taken donations from the tainted company. 

The protesters argued that a mere apology from the people responsible for the killings is not enough, rather they need to be held accountable.

Aruna Chandrasekhar, a photojournalist who was at the protest, said, “I have been covering Vedanta’s human rights violations since 2009. Vedanta is a UK-based company using an Indian name. It has multiple entities, we have seen Goa mining scam, we have seen Niyamgiri (Chattisgarh) and Lanjigarh (Odisha).”

In all these places, the company was embroiled in controversies over allegations of human rights violations.

Priya Pillai, noted environmental activist, said, “Vedanta does not like to face people. They know how to operate from the back. That’s how they operated in Thoothukudi also. This is not the first time that the company is doing this. Vedanta has a long history of human rights violations not only in India but also abroad, where they do illegal activities in the name of development.”

“They work in connivance. They have a strong nexus with the government. They use the state machinery to crack down on the people who protest against them. In Niyamgiri, they came with paramilitary forces, picked up women at midnight. They presented them after three days and called them ‘Maoists’, they did the same thing here. People were protesting here peacefully for 100 days and not one or two people but thousands of people. We have seen videos where police have been taking vantage positions before shooting protesters. Then they claim that they shot at protesters as they grew violent?" she questioned.

“In which country does police take vantage positions and shoot at people? So we know this was a planned massacre. We know how corporates operate in this country and the world. The more shocking thing is that even after murdering so many people in cold blood, they are continuing this,” she added.

Another noted activist, Geeta Menon said, “We condemn the atrocious murders that have been going on continuously. This is not one Vedanta. There is a history of companies, corporates who think that they can march ahead and bulldoze into people’s rights. And this is what we condemn. Vedanta and its murders—-everyone is aware of. Starting from Odisha, across India they want to continue these murders.” 

“The PM of the country with the Veda on the one hand and Manusmriti (which is their constitution on the other hand) wants to do away with the constitutional rights which we have. They are hell-bent on stopping dissent. They want to curb all voices that want to speak out the truth. We all know what this conspiracy is all about. When ordinary people protest, the entire machinery is out there to stop their voices. The people who sit in power should be ashamed of the blood on their hands.”

CPIML, New Socialist Alternative, People’s Union of Civil Liberties, Environment Support Group and other like-minded organisations took part in the protest.

The demonstrations were held at the entrance of Prestige Meridian on MG Road, which houses a marketing office of mining major Vedanta - the company that owns Sterlite.


ReadThe massacre in Thoothukudi: Intelligence failure or deliberate assault?

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