The row over setting up the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu reached the Supreme Court on Monday with a petition, which sought its directions to restrain the Union government and other authorities from commissioning the controversial project.
(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.”
The petition, filed through counsel Prashant Bhushan and Pranav Sachdeva, said the high court had given a go ahead to the nuclear power plant without first ensuring that the 17 critical safety features recommended by the Central government’s expert task-force are put in place.
7.30 PM: In Idinthakarai today, Udayakumar, Pushparayan and other leaders refused to back down from their decision to get themselves arrested. The gathering turned highly emotional without people weeping and wailing. All of a sudden, a group of youth from the village entered the scene and bodily lifted the leaders and whisked them away through the sea route to an unknown location. The people are insistent that this is their struggle, and individuals cannot be singled out for arrest. “Udayakumar and Pushparayan are not instigating us. We are well aware of the consequences of a nuclear power plant. We are not idiots. If the police wants to arrest somebody for this belief, let them arrest all of us.”
The people have categorically stated that the police and the Government are
without honour. “We are concerned that the police will harm Udayakumar or
Pushparayan if they turn themselves in,” said Sagaya Initha, a resident of
the Tsunami colony, ward councillor and a prominent anti-nuclear activist.
7.15 pm:Plea to halt work at Kudankulam nuclear plant reaches Supreme court.
6.30pm: Defiant Kudankulam villagers are unhappy with Udayakumar’s announcement of courting arrest, and have said that police will have to first pass through them if they want to arrest the leaders of the struggle committee.
Meanwhile, Nityanand Jayaram, an activist involved with the protest, told Firstpost that police have entered and searched every house in Kudankulam village on the pretext of looking for four police personnel that they claim are missing. Villagers have roundly denied taking any hostages. According to local reports, police have been posted outside virtually every house in the village.
5.18pm: SP Udhayakumar, convener of People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy has directly appealed to Jayalalithaa to change her stance on the Kudankulam nuclear power plant, saying that many great leaders were known to change their minds over issues.
“I must confess that I was disappointed. We met with the Chief Minister and had a wonderful conversation. Even now, we beg her that it is not too late to change her mind”, said Udhaykumar in an interview with the Times Now television channel.
Udhaykumar also said that his surrender would not spell the end of the movement, saying that the cause had been taken up by many organisations and individuals on a pan-India basis and he was confident that it would end in success.
4.39pm: SP Udhayakumar, convener of People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy has just announced that he will surrender to the Kudankulam police in a bid to stop what he is calling terror tactics by the police. Speaking to the media, Udhaykumar accused the policemen of terrorizing villagers, saying they were running from house to house in a bid to arrest and victimize protestors.
“Why are we being brutalised like this? Why are we being victimised? We are not terrorists”, said Udhaykumar. He, along with other senior members of PMANE, will surrender to police at Kudankulam at 9 pm.
3.00pm: In Coimbatore, reports coming in state that 74 protestors belonging to Vaiko’s MDMK have been arrested. The MDMK are also protesting what they are alleging to be excessive police action against Kudankulam protestors which left one fisherman dead.
2.20pm: Anti Kudankulam nuclear power plant protests are also being reported from Coimbatore. No further details were immediately available. Meanwhile in Kudankulam where protestors have already set fire to the gram panchayat office, police have arrested 14 people who were pelting stones at the security forces. This takes the total amount of arrested protestors to 54.
Tensions are rife in the area, with one fisherman killed in police action taken to disperse protestors from the site of the nuclear power plant. The reactors in the plant are expected to be filled with fuel later today.
2.01pm: The tense situation in Kundakulam has finally erupted. Protestors have set fire to the Kudankulam gram panchayat office. Commentators say that the arson attack is surprising, given that it was in an area of the town that was heavily guarded by police. There are no visible protests, and it is still not known who is responsible for the incident.
11.26am: The anti-nuclear protests in Kudankulam have spread to Chennai, with protestors attacking a city bus on Mount Road in the city. The crowds had been protesting what they have called excessive police action against villagers at Idinthakari near the Kudankulam nuclear power plant yesterday. Police lobbed tear gas shells and baton charged the villagers who were refusing to leave their protest site. One fisherman was killed in the chaos.
Meanwhile in Kudankulam, an uneasy calm prevailed with police tightening their vigil as anti-nuclear protesters continued with their relay fast. Police said the situation was calm but they were keeping a strict vigil. “Security has been stepped up,” sources said.
Sources close to S P Udhayakumar, convener of People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, spearheading the protest against KNPP, said key leaders including him and Pushparayan, would court arrest by turning up at the Kudankulam Police Station later in the day.
The year-long agitation, confined to Indinthakarai and nearby villages, spilled over to neighbouring Tuticorin district and was intensified after authorities announced loading of uranium fuel in the plant.
Police had also resorted to lathicharge and firing of teargas shells yesterday as the seashore in Indinthakarai village turned into a battlefield with clashes between protesters and police.
Slamming the police action, PMANE had yesterday launched a 48-hour relay fast against it.