The protestors seek withdrawal of police force deployed at Idinthakarai

Fishing activity remained suspended on Thursday for the fourth consecutive day in Tuticorin district.

Fishermen of various hamlets resorted to this step to express their solidarity with a section of protesters of Tirunelveli district demanding closure of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. Fishermen of various associations and chank divers have been observing a hunger strike since Tuesday opposite Our Lady of Snows Shrine Basilica on Beach Road here.

Both country craft fishermen of Threspuram and mechanised boat fishermen of Tuticorin boycotted fishing activities and were involved in the fast. The agitators condemned the police firing on a fisherman G. Antony John (48) of Manapad on Monday and demanded action against the police.

The agitators felt the need for withdrawal of police force deployed at Idinthakarai immediately. Unusually, all boats were moored along the wharf of Tuticorin fishing harbour. Since fishing activities came to a grinding halt, seafood prices have skyrocketed. With insufficient catch off Tharuvaikulam coast, demands of consumers could not be met. One kilogram of ‘oola’ fish was sold at Rs.300 while ‘seela’ was marketed at Rs.700 on Thursday, Arputharaj, a vendor, said.

As many as 350 country boats and 80 mechanised boats were normally engaged in fishing off Tharuvaikulam coast, A.A. Jeyapaul, former president of Tharuvaikulam, said. Not only fishing but its allied activities also suffered a lot. Production of ice bars took a beating, G. Arul Raja, an ice plant proprietor, said. Since uncertainty over resumption of fishing loomed large, ice production could not be executed in full swing, he added.

Naam Tamizhar activists

As many as 75 cadres of Naam Tamizhar Iyakkam courted arrest while attempting to lay siege to BSNL office on WGCC Road here on Thursday to protest against the police highhandedness at Idinthakarai and seek the closure of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. A team of Tuticorin Central police led by Inspector W. Joseph Jetson intercepted the agitators at the office entrance.

T.M. Prabu, district secretary of the Iyakkam, led the agitation. He said the party also condemned the firing on fisherman G. Antony John, on Monday. Many protestors were injured in the wake of atrocities by the police at Indintakarai, he said. He said the police force should be withdrawn from Idinthakarai.

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