The New Indian Express

Unlike earlier agitations, women turned up in large numbers for the sea siege protest organised by the PMANE against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) in Tirunelveli on Monday.

Trouble at sea: In spite of a court order and heavy police presence, large number of women and youth arrived in boats to register their protest | Photo: The New Indian Express

Trouble at sea: In spite of a court order and heavy police presence, large number of women and youth arrived in boats to register their protest | Photo: The New Indian Express

Members of PMANE and fishermen from Tirunelveli district in over 500 boats laid a siege in the sea to the KKNPP on Monday to express their protest to commissioning of the plant.

The agitation also condemned the attitude and approach of the government and Department of Atomic Energy in not giving information on KKNPP and proper disaster training to the local community, refusal to scrap down the plant and to press other demands.

Though Tirunelveli collector imposed the prohibitory order of section 144 (1) CrPC in areas covering 7 km around the Koodankulam plant, PMANE coordinator S P Udayakumar, other leaders like M Pushparyan, Muhilan, M P Jesuraj, Peter Milton left from Idintharakarai around 9.45 am on Monday along with fishermen from coastal villages including Idinthakarai, Kuthenkuly, Perumanal, Uvari, Kooduthalai, Kootapanai, Thomaiyarpuram and Kootapuli in fiber boats with black flags and laid a siege to the plant.

Though Marine police constantly patrolled in four boats near the plant, and a coast guard ship positioned near the facility, the protesters arrived in fibre boats and staged a protest that lasted till 3 pm. A few boys were also among the protesters. They raised slogans demanding closure of the plant and whiter paper covering all aspects of the facility.

Amidst the protests, a police team led by Tirunelveli SP, headed towards Kuthenkuly, which triggered tension in the region. Udayakumar later said, “We don’t want another Fukushima to happen here and hence the protest. We would hold a meeting with bodies that support our demands at Idinthakarai on March 7.”