Anti-Kudankulam n-plant protest turns violent
Anti-nuclear protesters turned violent on Monday after police foiled their repeated attempts to lay siege to the atomic power plant in Kudankulam (Tamil Nadu) by bursting teargas shells and resorting to lathi-charge.
The over 2,000 protesters fought pitched battles throwing stones, logs and sand on the baton-wielding policemen who chased them with many of them even rushing towards the sea.
The police action followed after authorities failed to persuade the protesters who, for the second day, defied prohibitory orders and stayed put at the seashore, about 500 metres away from the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant.
Police said local Panchayat office and the Village Administrative Officer’s office were set on fire as Monday's incidents marked a violent turn to the over year—long protest which had remained peaceful.
The protest spilled into Tuticorin, about 80 km away, where about 500 people blocked a train for some time by squatting on track. The protestors also blocked Tuticorin—Nagercoil highway. Condemning the police action, People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, spearheading the protest against KNPP, announced a 48—hour relay fast against it.
In Chennai, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa reviewed the situation with DGP K Ramanujam.
Foreign NGOs’ hand suspected
As fresh protest erupted in Tamil Nadu over the Kudankulam Nuclear Power plant, the Centalgovernment on Monday said those staging demonstrations against the ambitious project were getting support from foreign NGOs.
“Foreign NGOs are supporting the movement. We are aware about the NGOs which are behind it,” Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde told reporters in New Delhi. Shinde said government was very clear as far as nuclear energy is concerned and wanted it to be produced in India as it was cheap and clean.
“Initially the cost of setting up the plant is high. But the cost of nuclear power is very low. We must have such energy,” he said.
In February, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had blamed some US-based NGOs for putting difficulties in launching the Kudankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu.
Government had also probed fundings of around 12-13 Indian voluntary organisations which were launching the protest movement in Kudankulam.
- Asian Tribune -