Anti-nuclear movement leader S P Udayakumar on Tuesday gave up his plan to surrender to the police after making a dramatic appearance to do so and was whisked away by his supporters.
Anti-corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal turned up at nearby Idinthakarai, venue of a 48-hour hunger strike launched by anti-nuclear protesters, expressed his solidarity with them and was believed to have asked Udayakumar, convenor of People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), not to surrender.
Udayakumar turned up at Idinthakarai and announced he would surrender at 9 pm in the presence of a "prominent non-political national leader."
But the emotional protestors said they would not allow the surrender and soon thereafter, Udayakumar was whisked away by his supporters in a boat, leaving others clueless about his whereabouts.
Addressing the over 1,000 protesters a day after police opened fire at a group of fishermen in Tuticorin district killing one of them, he said the protest against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant would continue even if he was arrested.
The PMANE leader had earlier said he was surrendering as he had information that police were plotting a house-to-house search on the pretext that five of their men had been taken hostages by the protesters.
He alleged Tamil Nadu government, backed by the Centre, had let loose repression on protesters.
"I am not afraid of being arrested ... even if they arrest me, people will continue the agitation," said Udhayakumar, against whom police have launched a hunt after yesterday's foiled bid by the protesters to lay siege to KNPP.
Police said the situation was calm but they are keeping a strict vigil.
The entire road leading to Idinthakarai from here was heavily guarded and police could be seen in strength in and around Kudankulam which had turned into a battlefield between protesters and police.