Sterlite Copper is currently producing around 40% of India’s copper. The company has plans to extend it’s smelting plant, after which it would produce around 60-70% of India’s copper requirement. The upgrade for the company has hit rough weather after a series of organized protest by few activists.
23rd September 2018, was when the 3-member NGT panel visited the plant for inspection. The NGT panel visited the plant to check whether if the things are in place as per the required norms. Following the visit the panel chose to meet the employees who supported the re-opening of Sterlite Copper and then on visited nearby villages in Tuticorin.
Following the inspection, the Panel chief is said to have made the announcement that “Majority of Petitioners don’t want Sterlite to be re-opened”
Around 2500 letters were submitted against the opening of Sterlite Copper. Tuticorin has a population of around 600,000 people. If one vehemently opposes the re-opening of the plant, he would have been present at the site to submit his petition against the company.
Taking into consideration the fact that only 2500 of the overall population of 600,000 showed up, it means that many refrained from voting against the company.
There are videos available wherein the villagers who submitted the petition in support of opening of Sterlite Copper, were abused and manhandled by the miscreants. The visuals below speak volumes about how the villagers who came to submit the pro-Sterlite Copper petition were harassed.
Advocate G Hari Raghavan, can be seen apparently bullying the villagers and seen involved in the agitation against Sterlite Copper. National Security Act had been invoked against the advocate in July. On July 6, Raghavan surrendered before the judicial magistrate in Madurai and was remanded in judicial custody. On July 24, the court granted him bail on condition that he shall not take part in any agitation in connection with Sterlite for the following 90 days.
The advocate clearly hasn’t followed the terms and conditions on which the bail was granted to him. Will the Madras High Court reprimand him for dishonoring the court and thereby breaking the law? The videos act as an evidentiary proof that the pro-Sterlite Copper voice in Tuticorin was suppressed by activists with ulterior motives.
The rogue treatment given to the villagers who came out and submitted pro-Sterlite Copper petitions establishes the fact that fear tactics are being deployed by the activists in Tuticorin to quash any voice that supports the re-opening of the company. The bullying by the Anti-Sterlite Copper activists screams out loud their intolerance towards people who are supporting the company.
One can conclude from all the above decipherations, that the majority in Tuticorin chose not to submit their petitions due to the fear of being bullied if they voiced their opinion. Their stance of ‘no opinion’ only signals their want to have the Copper company in their city, but are under duress by the loud activists, hence chose to remain silent. The NGT panel should look into this aspect as well, and shouldn’t just go on the number of petitions submitted.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SatyaVijayi.