R.Nallakannu an Freedom Fighter, Indian politician and also Senior Communist Party of India (CPI) leader, the former State Secretary of the Communist Party of India of Tamil Nadu expressed his views at a meeting organized by Naam Kumari Makkal (We Kanniyakumari People) at Kaviko Mandram on 20 may 2018 to condemn the act of Union and state government towards the killing of 13 innocent people.
Through the Eyes of R.Nallakannu
R.Nallakanu started his speech by praising the demands presented by Naam Kumari Makkal. He paid respect to the comrades martyred in Thoothukudi for protesting against Sterlite.
The prominent freedom fighter stated that “Thousands of protesters, mostly youth, gathered at Marina Beach in Chennai demanding the removal of ban on Jallikattu (Tamil Nadu’s bull-taming sport), the largely peaceful nature of the protests received praise from all over the country and inspired several other Indian states and other countries worldwide. The Jallikattu protest was accepted and celebrated, but end of the day students were beaten up by police. Police allegedly beat up fishermen for expressing their solidarity with the protesters of Jallikattu. The pregnant women were brutally attacked and many of them were hospitalized, many women were molested by police. The visuals showed policemen setting fire to auto’s in the Ambedkar palam area (near the Citi Centre mall in Mylapore). The last day of the protest was targeted by state government, which guided the police to attack brutally on the protesters to destroy the positive impression and confidence in the minds of the people about the protest and to avoid this approach in future. As a result, students protest has been forgotten and police violence left a devastating impact”.
He stated how the British in India handled the protest,” the Union says if needed it will send paramilitary forces to the state for assistance and the state government responds awkwardly by inviting the para-military forces. Even at the period British’s Ruled-India when a police Inspector was killed in Kulasekarapattinam, Kurumbur Railway Station was Attacked, Still army Hasn’t arrived rather Malabar special force arrived, but in Thoothukudi, the Government induced Genocide for the benefits of Corporates shows the real face of corrupt government”.
“The start of protest against Sterlite was from 1994, it has been fuming for last 24 years in different dimensions and it pitched high when number of protesters increased each day. The protest got spear headed when effluents from the plant affected the Ground water, polluted the air over Thoothukudi, Land Pollution levels started to go up and fishing, the mainstay of the town, was threatened” He said.
He recalled the gas leaks in recent years “The protests, that have always been held in peaceful slogan shouting of children, intense of youth energy, colourful dances in non-violent ways demanding the permanent closure of Sterlite in Thoothukudi reaching the 100th day on 22 may 2018, shattered blood. The cold-blooded murderers had not even spared a 47-year-old woman, anti-sterlite leader Jhansi carrying fish curry to her daughter, and a 16 year old school girl snolin, who had been waiting for her examination results, wished to become lawyer was shot in mouth. After the police firing which claimed many lives, the State government has directed service providers to stop internet services for five days from 23 May 2018 to 27 May 2018 throughout Thoothukudi, Tirunelveli and Kanniyakumari has proved it is worse than British’s rule.
On 1997, Women workers at Ramesh flowers and staff at Tamil Nadu Electricity Board’s sub-station located across the Sterlite factory complained of headache, coughing and choking due to smoke spread out from the plant. But No action was taken by TNPCB against Sterlite.
On 1999, 11 workers at the All India Radio station near Sterlite complained of distress due to a gas leak and had to be hospitalised. Still no action against Sterlite from TNPCB.
On March 23, 2013, Thoothukudi town experienced a massive gas leak with people reporting suffocation, coughing, eye irritation, miscarriages and severe discomfort. TNPCB came to rescue Sterlite while Thoothukudi choked”.
“Recently Vedanta filed petition which asked TNPCB to allow limited manpower to rectify the leakage of sulphuric acid that occurred inside the Sterlite Copper factory with adequate police protection, and also supply of electricity to maintain the plant for the safety of chemical materials stored within the plant premises. All the previous Gas Leaks, killing of Innocent people will be forgotten and only the opening will be concentrated” he said.
He ended stating that” if the Nation has to be saved from the hands of Corporates, forgetfulness should never come to people. We protested to exempt from NEET (National Eligibility and Entrance Test), but now we are protesting to conduct NEET inside Tamil Nadu”.