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PHOTOS: Fishermen lay siege to Kudankulam nuclear plant

Last updated on: October 8, 2012 20:56 IST

Fishermen lay siege to Kudankulam nuclear plant

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Rediff.com's A Ganesh Nadar hopped on to a fishing boat at Kudankulam amid the anti-nuclear power protests at sea. 

Fishermen from Tuticorin, Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari districts on Monday laid siege to the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant on Monday to show solidarity with anti-nuclear activist S P Udayakumar and oppose the nuclear power project.

The protestors, who came in boats, remained 500 metres away from the Kudankulam plant, demanding scrapping of the KNPP.

Over 5,000 security personnel, including Rapid Action Force, were deployed besides five Coast Guard vessels, Additional Director General of Police Rajendran, who oversaw the security, said.

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Photographs: A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com

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Led by People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy, the protestors were also demanding withdrawal of police from the villages, release of those arrested and taking back false cases filed against anti-nuclear activists.

Udayakumar was leading from the front. From a speed boat he cheered the fishermen as he whizzed amongst them. His smiling face and jokes belied the fact that the cops were looking for him.

For a man who has over 350 criminal cases pending against him, which include charges of sedition and waging a war against the nation and has an non-bailable warrant out in his name, Udayakumar was seen on every television channel, newspaper and website in the country.

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Photographs: A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com

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On Tuesday, the police would have to answer the Valliyoor court judge as to why they could not execute the arrest warrant when Udayakumar was within their sights.

Meanwhile, sensing trouble, Coast Guard boats cordoned off the area; five of them maintained vigil as the fishermen held their protest. On land, heavily-armed Central Industrial Security Force and the Special Task Force guarded the plant.

Tirunelveli Superintendent of Police Vijayendra Bidari told rediff.com, "There are lesser boats than what came to Tuticorin when they laid siege to the harbour. The Kanyakumari fisheries department has given their boats permits for only one day. So they will have to go back today. The locals may stay in the water longer. We know Udayakumar is there amongst them."

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Photographs: A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com

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While local protestors protested on boats bearing white flags, others from the neighbouring districts waved black flags.

On shore, a huge kitchen made and packed lunch for the protesters. 

In the makeshift tent outside the Idinthakarai church, there were more over 1,000 women and children. They were waiting for their men to return to shore. 

Return they did at around 4 pm. By sunset, they had left.

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Photographs: A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com

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This is the second time the protestors are laying siege after September 22, when they did so at Tuticorin port against loading of uranium in the atomic power plant.

 

The protesters had also staged a 'Jal Satyagraha' in the sea at Koothakuzhi, 10 km from Kudankulam, by forming a human chain earlier.

 

The first unit of the Indo-Russian project was scheduled to be commissioned in December last year but had been delayed due to protests by locals on safety concerns.


Photographs: A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com

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