Lok Raj Sangathan strongly condemns the heavy handed actions of the Tamil Nadu Police in the city of Thoothukudi that has led to the deaths of at least 13 innocent citizens, including at least one woman on May 22, 2018. The enthusiasm with which the security forces in India resort to the use of deadly force must be roundly condemned. The events surrounding this atrocity are well-known. 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 the government towards genuine demands of the people.
The Thoothukudi incident is associated with the democratic struggle and right to assembly and right to protest against decisions of the Government, which in this case is the decision to allow the expansion of copper smelting capacity by the Vedanta group in their existing plant. The people of India have been watching with alarm the continual escalation of the exploitation of its valuable resources by all kinds of corporate conglomerates of Indian as well as foreign based capitalists. The benefits of all the exploitation of the resources have gone into the hands of a few, and practically no benefit has been accrued by the people of the country. While one may debate the pros and cons of such an economic orientation, no one can justify the use of deadly force. In a democracy the people have a right to defend their land, their resources and the collective property and demand that their living environment is not destroyed by major corporations. If there is a dispute or disagreement it has to be resolved through peaceful means.
The use of all kinds of colonial style laws and deadly force smacks of arrogance of the Governments in power that guarantee the safety of not the people but the rights of private property. LRS joins all forces fighting against the arbitrary dictate of security forces and demands a full investigation into the events and due compensation to the victims. It demands that all the facts leading to the firing be put in front of the people and their organisations be fully involved in finding a just solution to people’s demands.
Let the sacrifice of peasants, fishermen, youth, women and people’s organisations which have been spearheading this struggle not be in vain. Let the struggle for the rights of the people continue.