As many as 458 persons were arrested by Kancheepuram police for attempting to stage an one-day token stir for which police had denied permission, here on Thursday.
Villagers living in the 16-km radius of Kalpakkam Power Plant had recently launched a stir which turned ugly with police lathi-charging protestors and subsequent arresting 18 persons who were leaders of the protest. The protest at Sadras and Pudupattinam were dropped with the verbal assurances that the cops would not object to bail applied for 18 persons, which included one plus-two student.
However, as that did not happen, a coordinating committee with representation from all villages around Kalpakkam were formed on Wednesday with P Abdul Samad as its chairman and two others, activist Dr Pugazhendhi and former Sadras chairman Mohan. The committee decided to go on a token fast condemning the lathi-charge and the arrest of the 18 persons on foisted cases. Police denied them permission, but protesters decided to go ahead with the stir. As hundreds turned out for the protest, cops picked up about 450 persons including women and children. Of those, 129 were remanded to judicial custody while others were released later.
Pugazhendhi told Express that the original protest began with a list of five demands, including uninterrupted power supply to surrounding villages and the DAE township, and employment priority for the locals.
“We also insisted that our children be given reservation in school run by DAE and no more N- plants should come up in addition to those present and a specialty hospital to treat radiation hazards in the surrounding villages.”