Anti-nuke protest takes bizarre turn

Villagers bury themselves in sand

In a bizarre turn to the on-going protests against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP), people of another village on Sunday buried themselves up to their necks in the beach sands.

Hundreds of other anti-nuke activists from Kerala were stopped on the Tamil Nadu border.
About 300 men, women and children of Koothanguzhi village, close to Idinthakarai, buried themselves in the beach sands up to their necks and shouted slogans demanding the closure of the Russian-assisted plant where preparations are on for the fuel loading into the first 1,000 MWe unit shortly.

New protests

“Everyday the protestors want to do something different to draw the attention of the state and Central governments and they are shrewdly keeping themselves in the limelight until the new petition in the Supreme Court against the fuel loading is heard,” official sources in Kudankulam told Deccan Herald over phone on Sunday, adding, there has been no untoward incident.

The leader of the anti-nuke agitation, S P Udayakumar, who is also the coordinator of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, “continues to be in hiding” somewhere in Vijayapathi Panchayat limits within which Idinthakarai, three km north of Kudankulam falls, the sources said.

Protests against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project intensified in other parts of the state as well.

A group of about 500 activists from neighbouring Kerala who undertook a “Kerala to Kudankulam march” on Sunday were stopped on the border of Tamil Nadu in Kanniyakumari to avert any escalation of tension, sources said.

Achuthanandan support

Former Kerala chief minister Achuthanandan has also planned a visit to Kudankulam to express solidarity with the anti-KNPP protesters led by Udayakuamr, sources said.  This has come as a huge embarrassment to the CPM, which in principle is not opposed to nuclear energy.

In fact, the Tamil Nadu CPM state committee secretary G Ramakrishnan, in line with the party’s Politburo stand, has demanded that all the cases against the anti-KNPP protesters be withdrawn, government initiate talks with the protesters and take steps to ally the locals’ apprehensions about the nuclear plant.

CPM supports

But the CPM does not want the nuclear plant to be shut down at this stage.

Some 200 people who tried to take out a march from Tuticorin to Kudankulam on Sunday were arrested.

In Chennai also, fishermen’s organisations protested demanded the withdrawal of the police build-up in Kudankulam have been allegedly “harassing” the local population there for over a week now, and revoking the prohibitory order in force to help return to normalcy.

Further, people of Idinthakarai cleaned up their “desecrated” Church, cleansing it with sea water.

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