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Protesters bury themselves in sand, 250 held, freed later

September 16, 2012 22:04 IST

Around 250 people were on Sunday arrested in Tuticorin after being stopped from heading towards anti-nuclear agitators here who, in a fresh form of protest against loading of fuel in Koodankulam plant, buried themselves upto waist in beach sand.

The slogan-shouting protesters, who were held for violating police regulatory orders after being denied permission for the march, were later let off.

A 'solidarity march' by cultural leaders from Kerala to Koodankulam to express support with the anti-nuclear activists here was also stopped on the state's border with Tamil Nadu.

Leader of Peoples Movement Against Nuclear Energy, which is spearheading the protest here, meanwhile, offered unconditional talks with the Central and State governments and said they were ready to give up the agitation if the government assured that fuel would  not be loaded for now.

After 'jal satyagraha', the protesters, including women, shifted their stir from sea to beach and buried themselves upto waist at nearby Kootapuli, holding placards against the  Centre and State governments.

Earlier, taking a cue from a similar protest demanding land as compensation and reduction in water level of Omkareshwar Dam recently by villagers of Khandwa district  in Madhya Pradesh, the protesters under PMANE too had launched the 'jal satyagraha', forming human chain in sea waters from September 13.

However, the 'jal satyagraha' was suspended for two days on Saturday. The latest bout of  intensified protests have been launched after authorities gave the go ahead for loading fuel in the plant.

Around 250 members of smaller parties were arrested in Tuticorin, about 50 km from here, when they attempted to set out on a march to Idinthakarai to express solidarity with  the anti-KNPP protesters.

Actor-Director Seeman, heading the 'Naam Tamizhar Iyakkam', Periyar Dravida Kazhagam leader Kolathur Mani and workers of Tamilnadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam were among those arrested, police said.

The protesters have further intensified their agitation after the Supreme Court refused to stop the loading of fuel into the nuclear reactor at the Kudankulam plant while noting that peoples' safety is of paramount importance.

PTI
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