Environment – Company Violations and Corruption
The factories manufacturing products with chemical compounds posing health hazards and endangering lives is well known.
The Sterlite Copper Plant in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu, India have been in such violation for more than two decades neglecting local residents’ health problems despite their request to the international company to address the issue.
The London based Volcan Investments owned Sterlite Copper Plant relentless air pollution and water contamination dumping industrial waste poisoned rivers, the primary source of drinking water supply to population living in those areas.
Consequentially, the locals suffered from various health problems. When the situation got worse, the frustrated locals initially approached the company to convey the message in writing that was not paid any attention. Then they submitted petitions to local and State authorities in vain. The environment regulatory boards and judiciary were found to be siding with the company confirming lack of responsibility at the political, judicial, state and national environment agency board. The public as well as private entities bribed to favor the billionaire company is evident in the process.
The disappointment among Thoothukudi residents were understandably high having exhausted all means to approach the violator viz. The Sterlite Copper Plant and supposedly oversight committees including the political authorities not producing any action. Instead, the company’s environment violation intensified given the politics and other institutions unconditional support to the firm encouraging further abuse.
The misuse and exploitation of anyone is invariably detrimental to sources and agents taking others for granted in their presumptuous status ultimately forcing them to learn a harsh lesson.
Thoothukudi residents eventually organized peaceful protest on the environment and health consequences due to Sterlite Copper Plant’s continued breach of any regulations meant to protect general environment and citizens’ welfare.
On the 100th day, the collusion among company, the city and state authorities deployed public funded law enforcement to disperse the gathering came to light. The armed police turned against unarmed peaceful protesters targeting young high school students and other civilians with snipers and bullets fatally injuring them for their non-violent participation in the rally.
There were at least thirteen people killed from police firing with police in plain clothes rather than uniform spotted shooting snipers from the police vehicle aiming the young and vulnerable in the protest. The news reports on the incident also stated about Tamil Nadu government authorized internet shut down and curfew to allow more state ordered police brutality dragging young men and boys held in detention without any charge.
Such conduct from public servants appropriately question the superficial claim on democracy and celebration of so-called Independence Day when public access to flow of information and broadband services blocked to maintain violent authority.
Though all those peaceful protesters who fell victims to police firing on May 23rd, 2018 in Thoothukudi are recognized for their genuine concern over Sterlite Copper Plant’s environment pollution and contamination attributed towards health issues with some having lost lives in the coastal town, the youngest among them as high school students demonstrated tremendous courage in voicing their peaceful dissent on this matter.
The seventeen-year-old Snowlin, the high school graduate and daughter of the local fisherman was fatally shot by a police sniper. In sacrificing her precious life, Snowlin and her friends have left indelible mark attracting public focus on environment and health woes faced by her community in Thoothukudi.
In the world, those with power, fame and fortune displaying intolerance to ordinary citizens grievances ignore their plight and unabashedly use the same citizens’ tax money to bully and intimidate them in order to retain unsustainable status quo.
The Thoothukudi protest not only unveiled environment issues, the event also exposed the embedded corruption in the entire political, judiciary and regulatory system.
Vishwa Kalyan Award is extended to martyrs in Thoothukudi protest and Snowlin is posthumously awarded representing self and others in the just cause subject to senseless tragic end.
Snowlin – the seventeen-year-old, brave young girl from Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu, India is honored with Vishwa Kalyan Award 2018.
The complete list of Vishwa Kalyan Awardees for 2018 will follow shortly.
Author & Presenter PadminiArhant.com