The state's chief minister has ordered a judicial inquiry into the shootings but the move failed to stem rising anger over the clashes, which also left about 80 wounded. A voice could be heard in the background saying: "At least one should die".
"Yes, the situation is tense but it is under control", a senior police officer said. The locals alleged that the plant was polluting groundwater and causing serious health issues.
"Mass murder of innocent people", he tweeted on Wednesday. To disperse the protesters, the police opened fire, which led to the killings of 11 people. In a video that has surfaced, the police can be seen taking aim with assault rifles, and the audio in the background suggests that they were aiming to kill the unarmed protesters.
In view of the violent situation over Vedanta's Sterlite plant in Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin that has claimed several lives, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court on Wednesday stayed the ongoing construction of a new copper smelter by the company.
What does Sterlite Copper have to say regarding the protests?
"The police had to take action under unavoidable circumstances to protect public life and property as the protesters resorted to repeated violence".
Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President Thirunavukarasu also blamed the government for the "Thoothukudi massacre", and asked it to heed public opinion and close the plant.
The plant, about 375 miles (600km) south of Tamil Nadu's state capital Chennai, is now shut as the company awaits a licence to expand the site. Palaniswami added that families of the victims would be offered one million rupees ($14,700) in compensation.
The plan by the London-listed firm to double the capacity of the smelter to 800,000 tonnes ignited the demonstrations and prompted activists to petition the court to intervene.
Some five years ago, hundreds of people were hospitalized after they complained of breathlessness and nausea following a gas leak from the plant.
On Tuesday, a crowd waving black flags stormed the district government headquarters and an apartment block for Vedanta employees, a company official said, declining to be named for fear of being targeted.
"A recent survey shows that maximum protests happen in Tamil Nadu".