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Kudankulam stir to turn into a 'Jal Satyagraha'

Sep 13, 2012 07:52 AM IST India India

Kudankulam: The anti-nuclear plant agitation in Kudankulam is expected to worsen on Thursday, with villagers and activists threatening to protest by entering the sea, turning the agitation into a 'Jal Satyagraha'. This comes on a day the plant will start loading uranium fuel in one of the two reactors.

In fact, a significant development is expected on Thursday on the plea against the move in the Supreme Court. Lawyer Prashant Bhushan's plea for an immediate stay on the plant's operation will come up for hearing later on Thursday.

Sources in People's Movement of Nuclear Energy (PMANE), which is spearheading the stir, said the agitators have put forward four demands - stoppage of the process of fuel-loading in KNPP, giving up of the plan to arrest anti-nuclear movement leaders, adequate compensation for those who suffered losses and release of those already taken into custody.

On Wednesday, fierce clashes took place between the police and protestors while villagers acussed securitymen of looting and destroying their homes. Activist Arvind Kejriwal, too, was at the protest site.

Arvind Kejriwal claimed the police destroyed 40 boats of fishermen. "The police is ransacking the houses of the people living here. 40 boats of poor fishermen have been destroyed by the policemen. This is not maintaining law and order. I request the police to be more humane," Kejriwal said.

Demanding a public debate on the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, Kejriwal said, "Let all the papers be made public and there be a public debate on whether the plant is safe for the people. If it is proved that the plant is safe, then let the plant open and if it is unsafe, let it be shut. We demand the poor not be charged. Let the government be transparent."

Kejriwal also suggested protest leader SP Udayakumar not to surrender. "I met Udayakumar. I have suggested him not to surrender and we should offer him the best legal support. He is doing a very good job."

The agitators ended their 48-hour relay fast at Idinthakarai to protest the police action which saw them resorting to lathicharge and bursting of teargas shells, besides conducting house-to-house searches.

Security forces sealed almost the entire town housing the nuclear plant even as PMANE convener Udayakumar remained elusive after a volte face on his surrender offer.

The forces allowed transportation of only essential commodities while clamping down on strangers.

A total of 51 people have been arrested so far. The protestors are demanding authorities to stop the loading of uranium fuel in first of the two nuclear reactors, which will take place on September 13. One person died in police firing on Monday.

(With additional information from PTI)