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i-maritime News Service

Anti-nuclear protesters lay siege to Tuticorin port - 2012-09-24

In a new show of resistance, anti-nuclear protesters on board around 500 boats today laid siege to the Port here against loading of uranium at the Kudankulam atomic power plant. Around 3,000 fishermen and anti-nuclear activists from Tuticorin, about 100 km from Kudankulam, in Tirunelveli District, and elsewhere arrived 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 as they had rescheduled ship arrivals and departures in advance, taking into account the protest.


“We hurried vessel loading and unloading operations last night. Only the piloting operations (leading the ships in and guiding them out) were not done, which resumed after the two-hour protest,” they said. The Coast Guard, the 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 that fuel loading, which began on Wednesday, be halted. A group of anti-nuclear activists also organised a human chain in Tuticorin town.


Meanwhile, People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) leaders, including S. P. Udayakumar, against whom a court has issued a non-bailable warrant, along with fisher-folk, staged a ‘Jal Satyagraha’ in the sea at Koothakuzhi, 10 km from Kudankulam, forming a human chain. The protesters stood in knee-deep water, resorting to this form of protest 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 the churches in their respective hamlets as part of the continuing protests since early this month, when the regulatory authorities gave the nod for loading nuclear fuel in the first 1000 MW 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 fisherman in police firing in this district. The first unit was scheduled to be commissioned in December last year but had been delayed by protests by the locals on safety concerns.

Source : Hindu Business Line