Inspired by the ‘jal satyagraha’ of the people of Harda and Khandwa to press their demand for reduction in the water level of two dams, those protesting the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project too organised an agitation standing in the sea on Thursday demanding the closure of the ready-to-be-commissioned nuclear project.
Led by Rev. Fr. M.P. Jesuraj, around 1,500 protesters took out a procession from their protest venue in front of the St. Lourdes’ Church at Idinthakarai and entered the sea near St. Xavier’s Church after 11 a.m. While women and children with life jackets stood close to the shore as the sea was rough, elders stood behind them. Some of the men were seen carrying black flags and raising slogans against the KKNPP as they stood in waist-deep water.
Even as the agitation was going on, a Coast Guard Dornier aircraft flew over the protesters several times at very low altitude. This it did not deter the agitators, especially the children, who were constantly advised by Rev. Fr. Jesuraj through the public address system not to shout or gesture at the pilots.
Since Anti-KKNPP struggle committee convener S.P. Udayakumar and his close associate M. Pushparayan went underground fearing arrest in connection with violent incidents that took place a few days ago, they did not participate in the protest.
“This is a protest in the sea to highlight our appeal to the Chief Minister,” said Rev. Fr. Jesuraj. Even as the protest was going on, news on the Supreme Court’s refusal to stay the fuel loading in the first reactor reached Idinthakarai. It had little impact on the protesters, who vowed to carry on their agitation.