Crowds throng at 24th March 2018 public meeting
20th April 2018. This detailed history of the anti-Sterlite movement by Ilangovan Rajasekaran was first published in Frontline magazine on April 17. Reproduced with permission of Frontline and the author here.
In Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi district, protests against Sterlite’s copper smelter plant get a second wind as local residents’ health and environmental concerns over the company’s expansion plan lead to the revival of a long-forgotten people’s movement.
PEOPLE of the port town of Thoothukudi (Tuticorin) in Tamil Nadu had never before poured out onto the streets in such large numbers as they did on March 24 in solidarity with the 100-odd residents of Kumareddiapuram who are waging a battle against the proposed Rs.3,500-crore expansion plan of Sterlite Industries (India) Limited’s giant copper smelter plant situated in the State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu Limited (SIPCOT) complex that adjoins Kumareddiapuram and a few other villages.
Anil Agarwal’s London mansion
24th March 2018 A noisy protest took place at 42-44 Hill Street in Mayfair, London, today, as British Tamils armed with traditional Parai drums joined with major demonstrations in Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu, India, against the expansion of British company Sterlite’s copper smelter in the State. The London protest, which took place at the $20 million home of company boss Anil Agarwal, was called by Foil Vedanta, Tamil People in UK and Parai – Voice of Freedom.
See a short video of the London protest HERE
Coverage in Hindustan Times – British Tamils protest outside Vedanta chief Anil Agarwal’s home in London
The News Minute – Can you hear the voice of UK Tamils? Sterlite protests outside Vedanta founder’s house in UK
Meanwhile in Tuticorin 250,000 people packed the streets for a major demonstration and public meeting organised by the Anti Killer Sterlite People’s Movement. Shutters on shops throughout the town were also down today following a total shutdown (bandh) called by The Merchant’s Association. This is the biggest protest yet against the Sterlite plant, and comes on the 40th day of continuous protest in the town, demanding that the plant is permanently closed and the expansion stopped. Permission for the protest was initially turned down by police but was successfully challenged by activists and granted by the High Court on 14th March.
14th August 2017. Loud and theatrical protests were again held outside the AGM of British mining company Vedanta Resources’ at the Lincoln Centre, Lincoln Inn Fields, London at 2pm today accusing the company of major environmental and human rights abuses across its operations. Parallel protests and meetings were held today by affected communities and their supporters at several locations in India and Zambia. Inside the AGM, dissident shareholders asked questions on behalf of Zambian villagers who are suing Vedanta in the UK for twelve years of polluted water, as well as tribal inhabitants of the Niyamgiri hills in Odisha, India who accuse Vedanta of murdering and harassing them with state collusion.
Please see the video of today’s protest in London!
and excellent photos from Peter Marshall here.
Coverage on Xinhau news: Environmental protesters picket annual meeting of mining firm Vedanta.
Dissident shareholders in London poured scorn on Vedanta’s 2017 Annual Report, which claims that the company ‘demonstrate world-class standards of governance, safety, sustainability and social responsibility’. They say it represents a poor attempt to don the ‘cloak of respectability’ of a London listing noting that Vedanta was again excluded from the Norwegian Pension Fund’s investments this year following an investigation which found “numerous reports of Vedanta’s failure to comply with government requirements”at four subsidiaries in Odisha, Chhatisgarh, Tamil Nadu and Zambia. The report concludes, “there continues to be an unacceptable risk that your company will cause or contribute to severe environmental damage and serious or systematic human rights violations.”
On Sunday farming communities living downstream of copper mines run by Vedanta subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) in Chingola, Zambia, held a meeting in Hippo Pool to renew their resolve in their twelve year struggle against the company for severe water pollution which has caused major health problems, and rendered land uncultivable. Police had refused them permission to hold a protest. Government officials visited their villages in Spring this year asking them to drop their London case against Vedanta and settle out of court with the company. The Headmen of Hippo Pool village submitted this statement to the Vedanta board and shareholders which was asked by Shoda Rackal from Women of Colour in Global Women’s Strike:
“The people here are sick and tired of pollution which is killing us through illness and loss of our crops and fish. The pollution must end at all costs. Whether we receive compensation or not, we are asking you to stop polluting us now.”
Following mass rallies after a major gas leak last weekend Vedanta subsidiary Sterlite’s copper smelter in Tamil Nadu has been closed until further notice. On Tuesday (2nd April) the fate of the plant will be decided once and for all in the Supreme Court. This news note is from Nityanand Jayaraman;
30 March, 2013 — The Tamil Nadu Government has relented to public pressure and shut down Sterlite Industries’ copper complex today. According to a worker, officials from 10 government departments arrived by the vanload in the plant last night at 8 p.m. The management then called a meeting of all staff and workers, and announced that the plant was shutting down. Sterlite requested time till about 12 midnight for phased closure, and this was conceded by the Government. By 1210 a.m. all plants except the smelter were shut down. Electricity connection to the copper complex has been disconnected.
Thosands rally against Kodankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu
Protest outside Indian high commission.
This protest is part of the international day of action.
Protests will also take place on the same date in Belgium, Germnay, Malaysia,India, Sri Lanka.
|Wednesday 24 October
4pm to 7pm
India House Aldwych
Nearest tube: Holborn
- Stop the project to build a nuclear power station at Koodankulam immediately
- Stop police brutality against Koodankulam campaigners. Defend the democratic right to protest
- Abolish all nuclear projects in Tamil Nadu and all Indian states. We demand massive public investment into renewable energy, the sources for which are abundant in India, and in millions of green jobs, with decent pay and health and safety legislation
- End western government investment in Indian nuclear projects. Solidarity with all those fighting big corporates involved in energy across the planet – people and planet – not big business profit – must be the priorities
For more information on Koodankulam see South Asia Solidarity Group.
Thousands demonstrate at Koodankulam nuclear power plant, Tamil Nadu
(from Countercurrents.org)20 October, 2012
A number of Foil Vedanta members were represented at this meeting in the House of Commons. We send our solidarity to those affected and fighting this dirty and dangerous technology being forced upon them.
Doctors, academics, legal workers and activists at a packed meeting in the House of Commons in London last night (18 October) declared their solidarity with the protesters against the nuclear power plants at Koodankulam, India and Hinkley Point, Somerset, UK and their opposition to nuclear power as a source of energy. The meeting was hosted by MP Caroline Lucas and organized jointly by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and South Asia Solidarity Group .
Caroline Lucas M.P. told the meeting that she was deeply worried about the situation in Koodankulam – both in terms of the nuclear plant and the treatment of local opponents. She also condemned David Cameron’s policy of exporting civil nuclear technology to India.
She said “In agreeing to lift a ban on the export of nuclear technology and components to India, Prime Minister David Cameron ignored official recommendations and shunned concerns that India is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. The government also seems untroubled by the fact that the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, the organisation in charge of safety in all of India’s nuclear facilities, shares staff with, and is funded by, the organisations it is supposed to be regulating. This clearly compromises its ability to act independently and to enforce vigorous safety regulations. The fact that the nuclear establishment in India is under no obligation to disclose information on the nuclear power sector to citizens, nor does the country have a long-term radioactive waste disposal policy only adds to the concerns. I pay tribute to the campaign against the Koodankulam nuclear power plant, which is standing up for local people in the face of human rights abuses by the police and the authorities. By standing in solidarity together, we can send a clear and strong message that nuclear power is not a welcome solution to our energy needs.”