Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi (Image: ANI)
Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi on Thursday said that the protest which led to the closure of Vedanta's Sterlite copper plant in Tamil Nadu's Thoothukudi was "foreign-funded" and the people involved in it were getting funded under Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act or were non-government firms.
He called out that there was a need for stricter norms in the Act, and process for which has also begun.
Businessman Anil Agarwal owned Sterlite copper plant was shut down in 2018 after 13 people died in the police firing incident during the protest. The protest was taken out by the locals who had alleged that the plant was causing health-related danger.
While speaking with the aspirants of civil services examinations, Governor Ravi said, "In Sterlite in Thuthukudi, it was a purely foreign-funded activity which led to the protest where police fired and it was an unfortunate incident that cost innocent lives. That’s a very sad part of it. But they want this Sterlite to be closed because that Sterlite produced 40 percent of our country’s copper needs and you know how copper is important for the electronic industry."
He went on to say that the protests that are being reported in the country are mostly “foreign-funded”.
He said, "They closed it (Sterlite) and even now it closed for 10 years down the line. All those who were behind it were getting FCRA foreign contributions. No, we need to be strict about it. It’s not as strict even today my view is it should be, but it’s in the process. Criticism will be there, that’s okay. People have freedom, and rights to protest and say something and it’s perfectly all right. Government has to ensure that our national interests are protected and anything that goes against purposefully is meant to inhabit or retard our growth and create a problem, disharmony. So radicalisation what you see today which is happening, there also foreign funded mostly.”
Targeting a few NGOs and their donors, he alleged that some of them were getting money for “anti-national” activities.
He said, "Some of the NGOs were receiving the FCRAs and the donors were sitting in foreign countries. They were sending money for activities which were anti-national in nature. We have a nuclear plant in Kanyakumari. Every time you start the work, there is a protest in the name of climate."
He mentioned Popular Front of India and said that it has made another front called “India Fraternity Front”.
He said, "If you look at the PFI, most of the fund come from outside. They have created India Fraternity Front. This is all the label for getting money from all to create a problem, terrorist activity. All these people from India, whether from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, or Karnataka, they went to ISIS to Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, where almost 90 percent of them were through PFI and they get money in account through FCRA accounts. It’s not acceptable."