Stir shifts to seashore in Koodankulam
Raising their voice against nuclear energy, more than 6,000 anti-KKNPP protestors, including women and children marched from Idinthakarai to the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) along the seashore and staged a satyagraha, around 500 meters away from the plant on Sunday.
In the back drop of the AERB (Atomic Energy Regulatory Board) permission for initial fuel loading at Unit-1 of KKNPP and the Madras High Court’s green light, PMANE (People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy) and village leaders had met at Idinthakarai last Thursday. During the meet, they had decided to march towards KKNPP to urge the governments in the State and Centre to stop the fuel loading. Tension gripped the area after police cover near the plant was beefed up.
Addressing the agitators, PMANE coordinator SP Udayakumar said, “Our people, cutting across all religious lines, are protesting for justice. If police attack or provoke us, we should not retaliate. We should not even raise our hands. Our enemy is nuclear energy.”
The march started at 11 am from St Lourde Matha Church. Holding white flags, children and women led the march. They were joined by PMANE leaders SP Udayakumar, M Pushparayam, MP Jesuraj, Rajalingam, Muhilan, among others.
A large group of police, including the Rapid Action Force and Special Task Force led by Tirunelveli District SP Vijayendra S Bidarai tried to control the crowd. Speaking to the protestors, the Collector pointed out that the Prime Minister and Chief Minister had constituted separate teams to analyse the implications of the plant. It was based on their reports that the decision (to commission Units I and II) was taken, he said. He noted that the High Court had rejected a batch of petitions and had given a go-ahead to units 1 and 2 of KKNPP. The activists had the right to contest the decision in Supreme Court, but staging a protest was illegal, he warned.