Chennai: The situation in Tamil Nadu’s Idinthakarai village, the epicentre of the movement against the Kudankulam nuclear project, was under control Wednesday after three days of protests, an official said.
“The situation is under control, cases have been registered against protestors attacking the police and damaging property. Around 2,000 police personnel have been deployed in Kundankulam and surrounding areas,” Additional Director General of Police S. George told IANS on phone from Tirunelveli, around 650 km from here.
The fast at Idinthakarai village in Tirunelveli, against the Kudankulam nuclear power project, is still on, he said.
On Tuesday night, protest leaders went missing after their “abduction” by local fishermen.
Leaders of People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) were abducted by fishermen to prevent them from surrendering to police.
Eyewitnesses told IANS that PMANE co-ordinator S.P. Udayakumar and leader M. Pushparayan surfaced at Idinthakarai in the evening, following Udayakumar’s earlier announcement that he would surrender to the police at Kudankulam around 9 p.m.
However, in a dramatic turn of events, fishermen took away Udayakumar and Pushparayan in a boat. Their current whereabouts were not known.
“There is no news about the PMANE leaders surrendering. We are more concerned about maintaining law and order,” George told IANS.
Sixty-five people have been arrested over the last two days, following the violence and over the Kundankulam project, he said.
The year-long movement against the Kudankulam nuclear power project had turned violent Monday, leaving one agitator dead in police firing in Tuticorin district and several injured as police used batons to disperse the crowds.
The protests, spearheaded by PMANE, and earlier confined to Kudankulam and Idinthakarai villages in Tirunelveli, had spread to Tuticorin following the clash with protesting fishermen on the beach at Kudankulam around 11.30 a.m. Monday.
The situation in Tuticorin is now reportedly under control, said George.
The situation erupted after plant officials announced that enriched uranium fuel would be loaded in the first of the two nuclear reactors around Sep 11.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa had justified the police action. She also announced compensation of Rs.5 lakh to the kin of the protester killed.
India’s atomic power plant operator Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is building two 1,000 MW reactors with Russian help at Kudankulam since 2001.
Villagers under the PMANE banner have opposed the project for the past one year, fearing for their safety, especially since the nuclear disaster at Fukushima in Japan March 2011.
PMANE had decided to take its fight against the Rs.17,120 crore project near the plant and away from Idinthakarai village near Kudankulam.