Tamil Nadu Chief Minister EK Paliniswami expressed grief over the deaths but justified the police action, stating that they had to open fire under "unavoidable circumstance".
The protesters have alleged that police had used force without provocation on the peaceful gathering.
Almost 5,000 people demanding closure of the Vedanta group-owned plant on Tuesday went on a rampage over pollution concerns, clashing with police, and setting vehicles and public property on fire.
"To maintain law and order additional police personnel have been sent to Tuticorin", the statement said. They hurled stones at the collector's office, he said in a statement. The protestors included activists and villagers from Kumarattiyapuram village who have been opposing the plant for over two decades as the water in the area has been contaminated due to the plant's operations. It also claims that the well-being of communities around it is the primary commitment of the company.
Five dead in Thoothukudi after Sterlite protests turn violent
'The inaction of the government has led to the people's protests, and police resorting to firing to control it. Action should be taken to shut down the plant immediately to address this issue, ' MK Stalin, leader of the main opposition group in Tamil Nadu, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, said in a Facebook post. Heavy police deployment could be seen in Toothukudi and surrounding areas of the coastal city.
Apart from announcing Rs ten lakh each to the families of the deceased, he also announced an assistance of Rs three lakh and Rs one lakh each to those who suffered serious and simple injuries respectively.
Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palanisamy immediately convened a high-level meeting with officials to discuss the violent protests and take stock of the situation at Thoothukudi. "If possible, it will be good to close down the (existing) unit", Makkal Neethi Mayyam chief Kamal Haasan said. "Sterlite Copper plant is non-operational", the company said. Approximately 50,000 people marched towards the collector's office in Thoothukudi, protesting against the expansion plans of the Sterlite smelter plant.
Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar said his government wasn't against the people. The application has been rejected for want of more clarifications after the state pollution control board found that the factory has not fulfilled some of the major factors including non-submission of a detailed ground water analysis, action not taken to dispose waste and not building a compound wall to arrest water mixing in the nearby river.More news: Pompeo's Iran Plan Is a Pipe Dream