3.45pm: Police have filed a fresh case against PMANE convenor Udayakumar and his wife. Udayakumar, who was whisked away by villagers in an effort to stop him from surrendering to police is currently in an unknown location. He has reportedly decided to give up his bid to court arrest, after IAC leader Arvind Kejriwal convinced him not to.
According to a tweet by Kejriwal, the arrest warrant has been served to Udayakumar’s parents.
Udaykumar’s father has just been served an arrest warrant against Uday under several sections. More than 300 FIRs against Uday.
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal7) सितम्बर 13, 2012
3.35pm: The villagers of Idinthakarai have decided to come out of the sea, and continue their fight against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant. The protest suffered a setback when the Supreme Court refused to stay the fuel loading of the plant reactor. Reporters from Idinthakarai say that villagers are still upbeat.
Meanwhile Minister for the PMO, V Narayanasamy has once again said that it is very clear that a foreign agencies vested interests are responsible for the anti-nuclear protests in Kudankulam. “The villagers were told that if anyone died during the agitation they would get compensation of Rs 5 lakh rupees. Where are they getting this money from, when their bank accounts have been blocked?”, asked Narayanasamy.
He added that the deportation of a German national who had been ‘loitering in the area’, also confirmed the presence of a foreign hand.
3.01pm: The petitioner on behalf of the Kudankulam Protestors, Prashant Bhushan, has said that the Supreme Court refusal to stay the loading of fuel into the nuclear reactor is not a setback.
Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, Bhushan said that the court had refused to stay the fuel loading before the next hearing which will take place next Thursday, because the government had said that it would take a full two months for the plant to become operational even after the fuel was loaded.
The court had therefore told the petitioners that there was no reason for the protestors to worry about any adverse effects yet.
Bhushan added that since the safety aspects had been dealt with a previous longer judgement relating to environment clearance, the court wanted to go through that judgement before making a final decision.
“The attitude of the court was very positive and they are concerned about the safety of the people”, said Bhushan.
He added that the government had been evasive when the court had asked whether the 17 recommendations of the safety panel had been implemented, saying that the recommendations were not necessary.
2.44pm: Reports say that the Supreme Court has refused to stop fuel loading at Kudankulam nuclear plant. This is a massive setback for protestors who are currently embarking on a ‘Jal Satyagraha’, standing in the sea and refusing to stop protesting until the nuclear power project is called off.
12:45 pm: Petition against Kudankulam plant to come up in Supreme Court at 2 pm
The Special Leave Petition (SLP) by social activist G Sundarrajan against the Madras High Court’s August 31 decision refusing to impose any restraint has claimed that non-implementation of various recommendations formulated by the Government’s Task Force “puts to grave risk the safety of millions of citizens.”
It has complained that in complete violation of the absolute liability principle evolved by the apex court, the government has absolved the Russian company supplying the nuclear reactor of any liability in case of an accident.
“The government has also brutally cracked down on the local community peacefully protesting against the plant and has slapped sedition cases against thousands of protesters,” it said.
“Thus it is absolutely clear that the government intends to push the project through without any consideration of the safety, costs, environmental impact and other concerns regarding the project,” the petition said.
The petition is expected to be heard at 2 pm and is to be argued by Prashant Bhushan and the petition is seeking that the commissioning of the two units of the Kudankulam plant be halted.
12:15 pm: Protestors form human chains, shout slogans
The hundreds of protestors are still in the water and shouting slogans against the nuclear power plant.
Safety ropes have been tied to prevent them from being washed away and authorities seem to prefer to watch developments unfold rather than take action that could potentially result in a loss of lives.
12:00 pm: Will protests deter nuclear fuel from being loaded into the Kudankulam plant
The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) has completed the boron flushing of the first reactor at its Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP), a major exercise stipulated by the atomic energy regulator, an official told IANS on Wednesday.
“The NPCIL completed the boron flushing (flushing of reactor systems with boric acid) activity Tuesday. The reactor vessel has to be dried,” SS Bajaj, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) chairman said.
A team of AERB officials are camping at KNPP to look into various safety aspects before giving the final nod to load the enriched uranium fuel bundles into the reactor.
However, authorities are maintaining a studied silence over the operations at the plant which has been given the go-ahead by the Madras High Court.
The Supreme Court will also hear a petition filed by Prashant Bhushan against the plant being made operational.
11:45 am: Protestors seek intervention of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa
Protestors are hoping for the intervention of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
“We are hoping that Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa will hear our voice,” an activist told CNN IBN.
While head of People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) SP Udayakumar’s whereabouts are still not known, the activist said he will not be present at the protest.
The majority of the protestors seem to be women and children. The protest is expected to continue till this evening and activists say that they will continue until the state government responds to their demands.
11:30 am: Hundreds standing in sea near Kudankulam nuclear plant
Hundreds of protestors are not heeding the orders of the authorities and have waded into the sea at Kudankulam.
Mostly women and children waded into the sea in waist deep water and were seen braving the waves and heat in a unique imitation of the protests in Madhya Pradesh.
The Coast Guard is carrying out sorties to ensure the protestors aren’t swept away because unlike Madhya Pradesh, the protestors will have to brave currents and waves as they protest.
Despite the police initially warning the protestors not to go into the sea, there has been no action taken to prevent them from doing so.
11:00 am Taking a cue from the ‘Jal Satyagraha’ activists in Madhya Pradesh, opponents of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant have decided to stand in the sea off Idianthakarai coast today as a stepped-up form of agitation.
Sources in People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), which is spearheading the stir, said the agitators have put forward four demands – stoppage of the process of fuel-loading in KNPP, giving up of the plan to arrest anti-nuclear movement leaders, adequate compensation for those who suffered losses and release of those already taken into custody.
The agitators on Wednesday ended their 48-hour relay fast at Idinthakarai to protest the police action which saw them resorting to using teargas shells, besides conducting house-to-house searches.
Security forces had sealed almost the entire town housing the nuclear plant even as PMANE convenor S P Udayakumar remained elusive after a volte face on his surrender offer.
The forces allowed transportation of only essential commodities while clamping down on strangers.
The stepped-up security came as KNPP officials continued to make preparations for loading enriched uranium into the first reactor, expected to start in the next few days.
The current bout of intensified protests, including the failed bid to lay a siege to the plant, was launched by People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy to prevent loading of fuel for which regulatory authorities gave the approval recently.