Statement of the Communist Ghadar Party of India, 28th May 2018
Communist Ghadar Party of India strongly condemns the heavy handed actions of the Tamil Nadu Police in the city of Thoothukudi on 22nd May, which led to the death of at least 13 innocent citizens. More than 65 people with serious bullet injuries were admitted in various hospitals in the city. Sophisticated sniper guns used in war situations are reported to have been used by the police. No procedures and protocols were followed. Most people killed were shot above their waist, showing clear intent to kill or cause grave injury.
The announcement of the shutting down of the plant by the Tamilnadu government after so many innocent lives were lost shows the utter callousness of those in power, who respond only to placate a public outcry. If the government had taken this action earlier, the loss of innocent lives could have been avoided.
The people of Thoothukiudi have been protesting against the pollution caused by the copper smelting plant since more than 20 years. Ever since the plant was issued a ‘Consent to Establish’ by the Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) in 1995, the people in the vicinity have been raising serious concerns and objections to the Tamil Nadu government and TNPCB. These authorities, and the Ministry of Environment and Forests, have not only turned a deaf ear to the people’s concerns, they have actively abetted Sterlite Copper to violate every procedure and rule concerning environmental protection and safety.
The Congress-led UPA government as well as the BJP-led NDA government have exempted the private company, Sterlite Copper, from public hearings. They have gone ahead and approved its establishment and subsequently its expansion.
The Thoothukudi incident exposes how the state authorities in our country convert every collective protest of people into a “law and order” problem. Political and economic struggles are criminalized and brute force is then unleashed. In this “democracy” the people cannot even carry out a protest against some decision of the Government, which in this case is the decision to allow the expansion of copper smelting capacity by the Vedanta group in their Thoothukudi plant.
The people of India have been watching with alarm the continual escalation of the exploitation of our valuable resources by all kinds of corporate conglomerates, Indian and foreign. The benefits of such exploitation have gone into the hands of a few monopoly capitalists. Practically no benefit has accrued to the people of the country. In defence of the narrow interests of the big capitalists, the Central and state governments resort to the use of deadly force to suppress all dissent.
People have a right to defend their land, their resources and their collective property and demand that their living environment is not destroyed by profit-hungry corporations. It is the right of people to demand that the State should put the priorities of people above those of capitalist monopolies.