The protests against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project today spread to Chennai with members of various parties and outfits being arrested for staging road blockade in various parts of the city.
Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi founder and Lok Sabha MP Thol Thirumavalavan and MDMK leader Mallai Sathya were among the scores of agitators who were arrested for staging road-blocks in different parts of the city,police said,adding smaller outfits like MMK also staged protest.
The protestors condemned yesterday’s police firing in Tutircorin district where a fisherman was killed and opposed loading of uranium fuel at the nuclear plant in Tirunelveli district.
The anti-nuclear protests had taken a violent turn yesterday with protestors clashing with police,resulting in lathi-charge and firing of tear-gas shells by police at Idinthakarai in Tirunelveli district and firing at Tuticorin.
Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had appealed for calm and cooperation from people of Idinthakarai,assuring that the venture being implemented in collaboration with Russia was safe.
Uneasy calm in Kudankulam; protesters on relay fast
An uneasy calm prevailed on Tuesday with police tightening vigil as anti-nuclear protesters continued with their relay fast at Idinthakari,epicentre of protests against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant,condemning the action against anti-KNPP activists.
Police said the situation was calm but they are keeping a strict vigil. Security has been stepped up, sources said.
Sources close to S P Udhayakumar,convener of People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy,spearheading the protest against KNPP,said key leaders including him and Pushparayan,will court arrest by turning up at the Kudankulam Police Station tonight.
The agitation had turned violent yesterday when one person was killed in police firing when protesters tried to attack a police station at Manapad in Tuticorin district.
The year-long agitation,confined to Indinthakarai and nearby villages,spilled over to neighbouring Tuticorin district and was intensified after authorities announced loading of uranium fuel in the plant.
Police had also resorted to lathicharge and firing of teargas shells yesterday as the seashore in Indinthakarai village turned into a battlefield with clashes between protesters and police.
Slamming the police action,PMANE had yesterday launched a 48-hour relay fast against it.
A cameraperson of an English TV channel allegedly suffered injuries on the forehead during the melee in the police action. Channel authorities said a complaint has been lodged at the police station.
Tirunelveli DSP V Bidari promised strong action by identifying the personnel involved in the alleged assault on the cameraperson.
Expressing solidarity with the protesters and condemning the police action,fishermen in southern districts are staying away from fishing today.
Situation in neighbouring districts is normal,according to police.
The anti-KNPP protest took a new turn when PMANE gave the call for a siege of the plant as a last-ditch effort to stall the Indo-Russian project after regulatory authorities gave their clearance for loading the uranium fuel in the first of the two reactors.
Around 4,000 security personnel,including Rapid Action Force,have been deployed in the area.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has defended the police action and appealed to people not to fall prey to the designs of anti-nuclear lobbyists and to maintain calm.
The first unit of KNPP was scheduled for commissioning in December last,but ran into trouble with locals demanding its scrapping on safety concerns.
Asked about reports of four PMANE leaders,including Udhayakumar and Pushparayan,planning to surrender by turning up at the Kudankulam Police Station,Bidari said police are searching for them and they would be taken into custody anytime.
They had instigated the violence,he said.
There has been no untoward incidents today,he said,adding,additional police personnel have been deployed.