Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Wednesday ordered the withdrawal of cases against leaders of political parties, filed in connection with the protests held in 2018 against Vedanta's Thoothukudi-based Sterlite copper plant. As many as 38 cases, involving 13 leaders including DMK's Anita R Radhakrishnan, who is now Fisheries Minister and the party's Thoothukudi south district secretary, were ordered to be withdrawn by Stalin, an official release here said.
Cases against MDMK chief Vaiko, veteran CPI leader R Nallakannu, CPI(M) state secretary K Balakrishnan, AMMK top leader TTV Dhinakaran, DMDK leaders Premalatha Vijayakanth and L K Sudhish and six others were ordered to be withdrawn. On May 21, the state government said that barring select cases, including those with the CBI, all others against anti-Sterlite Copper protesters would be withdrawn and relief assistance of Rs 1 lakh each to 93 arrested people shall be given. The government also decided to give Non-Objection Certificates for higher education and jobs to those arrested during the protest. The cases registered in connection with this protest prior to the incident on May 22, 2018 will be withdrawn except for those cases pending in the Supreme Court, the government’s order further said.
CM Stalin had taken the decision based on the interim report of Justice Aruna Jagadeesan, heading the Commission of Inquiry into the Tuticorin police firing and violence. The inquiry panel has recommended relief to 94 people who were arrested and accordingly 93 would be given Rs one lakh each and Rs two lakh to the mother of a deceased person, the government had said.
The protests in Thoothukudi in southern Tamil Nadu against Sterlite Copper over environment concerns peaked on May 22, 2018, leading to violence that resulted in 13 deaths in police firing. The massive protest involved thousands of people demanding that the expansion plans of the Sterlite Copper Plant be cancelled and marched to the Collectorate. In the violence that ensued, 13 civilians were killed in police firing, and more than 100 people were injured.