Kudankulam: Fast enters 5th day, police relax vigil

The indefinite fast by anti-nuclear activists demanding scrapping of Kudankulam atomic power project entered the fifth day on Friday.

Tirunelveli: The indefinite fast by
anti-nuclear activists demanding scrapping of Kudankulam
atomic power project entered the fifth day on Friday even as
police trimmed down its force deployed in surrounding
villages, easing tension.

As work at the plant continued in full swing, 15 agitators
led by People`s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)
coordinator S P Udayakumar continued their indefinite fast at
Idinthakarai. Hundreds of villagers also extended their
support to them.

A team of government doctors examined the fasting
protesters and said they may have to be shifted to a hospital
if their conditioned worsened, police said.

Officials said the work at KNPP for commissioning the
first 1,000 MW reactor was progressing at brisk pace and
nearly 300 scientists are working on regular shifts.

A top police official said bus transport to Kudankulam
and surrounding villages, where there were no road blocks,
resumed today and the situation was almost normal except in Idinthakarai, the hotbed of the protest.

The official said the number of police personnel deployed
in the region had also been significantly reduced.

However, armed police were manning sensitive points and
the police strength at the plant remained the same with
prohibitory orders in force in Radhapuram taluk under which
Idinthakarai and Kudankulam fall.

Soon after the Tamil Nadu cabinet earlier this week gave
the go ahead for the project, stalled for over seven months
due to the stir by locals, citing safety concerns, over 4,000
police personnel, including armed police, were stationed in
and around Kundankulam, a move slammed by the protesters.

Maintaining that road blocks were created by the
villagers themselves to prevent police entry, police said
almost all bus services were restored today.

"If any essential commodity is not reaching any village,
it is not our mistake. It is their own making. Even that we
are trying to undo," a police official said.

Police said Udayakumar faced charges including sedition
and waging war against the country.

In a related development, nearly 500 people, including
MDMK chief Vaiko, film director and Naam Tamizhar movement leader Seeman and Anti-Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant People`s Movement co-ordinator `Kolathur` Mani, were arrested here when they attempted to proceed to Idinthakarai to express solidarity with those on fast.

They held a rally at Palayamkottai here and condemned the
central and state governments for going ahead with the project disregarding the local`s concerns.

The rally urged the state government to withdraw cases
filed against the PMANE members and release the arrested
leaders. Besides, it demanded that huge police force stationed in and around Kudankulam be withdrawn and prohibitory orders lifted.