Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Thursday defended state police action during the anti-Sterlite Plant protest saying “when someone hits you, you naturally tend to defend yourselves. So on such situations, no one acts in a pre-planned manner”.

At least 12 people have died due to police firing in Tuticorin (Thoothukudi), Tamil Nadu, during anti-Sterlite Plant protest. While 11 persons died in police firing, one succumbed to the injuries he had reportedly sustained due to lathicharge.

In a series of tweets, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister said, “Some political parties and leaders had misguided the agitators against Sterlite”.

“State government continues to respect views of people on Sterlite issue. Opposition parties instigating innocent people to agitate. Thoothukudi administrators met agitators 14 times about govt stand. TN pollution control board didn’t renew license for Sterlite,” said Tamil Nadu CM.

Palaniswami said, “Some anti-social elements intruded into the agitation on May 22 and attacked the police, torched the police vehicles. Under tense situation, police resorted to firing and the firing was not pre-plannned”.

While adding that state government has been taking steps to close down Sterlite plant, through legal means.

The Tamil Nadu government has also ordered suspension of internet services in Tuticorin and adjoining districts of Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari for five days, starting 23 May, to prevent spread of rumours through social media.

Noting that anti-social elements were trying to exploit the situation, the government directed nodal officers of Internet Service Providers in the three districts to suspend internet services till May 27.

The government issued the order invoking the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017, saying there was a situation of “public emergency” which necessitated the immediate action to bring “public tranquillity”.

Meanwhile, DMK leader Stalin, who was holding a protest outside Tamil Nadu secretariat, has been detained by the police.

Several other leaders were detained too. The DMK and other Opposition parties in the state have also called for a dawn-to-dusk bandh on May 25, condemning the police action against protestors.

At least 12 people and several have been injured in police firing on the protesters demonstrating against the Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi, or Tuticorin.

Reports of clashes between protesters and security personnel continued to be reported from the coastal town of Tamil Nadu. The number of injured has also gone up following the fresh agitation.

Enraged over Tuesday’s killings, protesters took to the streets and showered stones and brickbats at police, prompting security personnel to open fire at Anna Nagar, said officials.

Also read | Madras High Court stays expansion for Sterlite plant in Thoothukudi

The body of the man killed in firing, and those injured have been rushed to a government hospital.

On Tuesday, the protest had entered its 100th day. The agitators have been demanding the closure of the plant run by the Vedanta Group.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Madras High Court had stayed the expansion of the Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi.

The development came a day after at least 11 people were killed in police firing as protests against the Sterlite expansion plans turned violent in Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu.

The company had filed an application to obtain environmental clearance to expand its plant in the coastal city in February 2018. The plan entails to doubling of the capacity of its copper smelter to 800,000 tonnes per year.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday claimed that Tamils are being killed as they refused to “bow” to the ideology of the RSS. In an apparent reference to the anti-copper plant violence at Tuticorin, Gandhi said he backs the Tamil people.

Read : Protests against Sterlite plant in Tuticorin | All you need to know