Last week, 13 Indian environmentalists were killed by police in Tuticorin, southern India, as they protested the extension of a copper smelter accused of polluting the air and groundwater. According to the Atlas of Environmental Justice, India has the highest number of environmental conflicts in the world with 271 cases, ahead of Colombia (128) and Brazil (101) and Mexico (15). Between 2015 and 2017, Global Witness has counted 33 environmental defenders murdered in the country, many of them wanting to attack mining mafias. But few have been killed by the police.
Each year, nearly 200 environmental defenders are killed in the world, 4 per week. They protested against the reopening and extension of a copper smelter accused of polluting the air and groundwater. Last week, 13 protesters were killed by police in Tuticorin, southern India. They had decided to organize a big demonstration on the 100th day of their movement. Congress Party leader Rahul Gandhi denounced a "brutal example of state terrorism”.
Agro-industry and mining alone represent the sectors most related to the killing of activists (60%). "People who dare to raise their voices will continue to be raped, imprisoned and murdered until businesses, investors and governments actually include communities in decisions about the use of their lands and natural resources", denounces Rachel Cox of Global Witness.