The Labour Party in Britain wants Vedanta Resources Plc. to be de-listed from the London Stock Exchange after 13 people died while protesting against Sterlite Copper’s smelter in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi earlier this week. “After the massacre of the protestors this week, regulators must now take action,” UK’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said on Friday.
The Labour Party MP said the news from Tamil Nadu was shocking, and demanded action. McDonnell said campaigners and global organisations like Amnesty International have accused Vedanta of human rights violations and environmental abuses. “This is a major multinational company that for years has operated illegal mining concerns, trashing the environment and forcibly evicting local people,” he added, according to BloombergQuint.
Meanwhile, agitators assembled outside the Indian High Commission in London to protest against Vendanta on Saturday. The protest was organised by Foil Vedanta, Tamil People in the UK, Periyar Ambedkar Study Circle, Tamil Solidarity and others. They accused the Tamil Nadu government of colluding in the “corporate massacre”. “It is disgusting to learn that a British company has put its profits above human cries for safe air to breathe and water to drink,” Karthik Kamalakannan from Tamil People in UK told The Hindu.
Sterlite Copper is a unit of Vedanta, one of the world’s largest mining and metals conglomerate. Around 70 people were injured in the agitation. The police have arrested 67 people for indulging in violence.
For more than two decades, activists in Thoothukudi have accused Sterlite of contaminating the region’s air and water resources, causing breathing disorders, skin diseases, heart conditions and cancer. Since February, there have been protests in Thoothukudi, where Sterlite runs a copper smelter with the capacity to produce 4.38 lakh tonnes of copper anodes per annum, or 1,200 tonnes per day.