Anti-Kudankulam protesters lay siege to Tuticorin port
In a new show of resistance, anti-nuclear protesters onboard around 500 boats today laid siege to the port in Tuticorin against loading of uranium in Kudankulam atomic power plant.
Around 3,000 fishermen and anti-nuclear activists from Tuticorin, about 100 km from Kudankulam in neighbouring Tirunelveli District, and elsewhere came in mechanised and country boats and blocked the entry channel for nearly two hours, port officials said.
The officials, however, said there was no disruption of any vessel movement since they had rescheduled ship arrivals and departures in advance taking into account the protest. "Last night itself we hurried vessel loading and unloading operations. Only the piloting operations (bringing the ship and taking them out) were not done, which resumed after the about two-hour long protest," they said.
Coast Guard, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Marine Police personnel kept a vigil as the protesters positioned their boats at the entry channel and raised slogans demanding halting of fuel loading which began on Wednesday. A group of anti-nuclear activists organised a human chain in Tuticorin town also.
Meanwhile, People’s Movement Against Nuclear energy (PMANE) leaders, including SP Udayakumar, against whom a court has issued a non-bailable warrant, along with fisher folk staged a 'Jal Satyagraha' in the sea at Koothakuzhi, 10km from Kudankulam, forming a human chain. The protesters stood in knee-deep water holding hands, resorting to such form of stir for the second time in a week.
Similar protests were conducted in the sea at Kudankulam, Idinthakarai, Perumanal and adjoining coastal hamlets.
Later, they observed a fast in front of churches in their respective hamlets as part of the multi-layered protests since early this month when the regulatory authorities gave the nod for loading nuclear fuel in the first 1000 MW Russian reactor. Udayakumar, who is evading arrest in a case relating to the anti-nuclear stir, has also given a call to picket Central Government offices in the state on September 25.
The stir took a violent turn on September 10 leading to the death of a fishermen in police firing in this district. The first unit was scheduled to be commissioned in December last year but had been delayed by the protests by locals on safety concerns.
- Asian Tribune -