Protest against Kudankulam nuclear plant to continue Friday

Hundreds of people from Tamil Nadu’s Idinthakarai village, the epicenter of the protests against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP), will continue their ‘jal satyagraha’ or peaceful water protest Friday.

«We plan to continue the ‘jal satyagraha’ Friday,» M. Pushparayan, a leader of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) told IANS over phone from Idinthakarai.

Hundreds of protestors stood in the sea Thursday to protest the loading of uranium into the first of two reactors. Villagers battled the waves until 4 p.m., Pushparayan said.

«We will stay in the sea, we will protest against the loading of uranium fuel in one of the reactors. No one can stop us from protesting,» said Immaculate, a protestor standing in waist-deep water.

«Any kind of satyagraha where people (are willing to) take their lives is not an ordinary protest. It is a non-violent appeal to the powers that be and the power holders must really listen to people,» social activist Medha Patkar told a TV channel.

«I think even the constitution says that people’s consent is necessary… Forcible eviction in the name of progress for development or power is absolutely not understandable and it is not justifiable,» she added.

Emphasizing that KNPP should not be pushed, she said, «Talk to the people, hold dialogue until they are convinced of not only safety…but all issues of economical, social and politics related to nuclear powers.»

«Police have issued summons to PMANE coordinator S.P. Udayakumar and his wife,» Pushparayan said.

On Wednesday, activists ended their 48-hour fast in Idinthakarai village (Tirunelveli district) in protest of the use of teargas and batons to disperse crowds and house-to-house searches by police.

The year-long protest against the Kudankulam nuclear power project turned violent Monday, leaving one shot dead and several injured in a police baton charge.

India’s atomic power plant operator Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) has been building two 1,000 MW reactors with Russian help at Kudankulam since 2001.

Villagers under the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) banner have opposed the project for the past year, fearing for their safety following the nuclear disaster at Fukushima March 2011.

Villagers from around the Kudankulam nuclear plant took a note from demonstrators in Madhya Pradesh against the Omkareshwar Dam on the Narmada forming a human chain in the sea.

Three days ago, the Madhya Pradesh government agreed to give land as compensation and reduce the height of Omkareshwar Dam. The protestors in Khandwa district stood in neck-deep water for over two weeks to block dam work.

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