A fisherman from Tsunami Colony in Idinthakarai, who sustained head injury during ‘jal satyagraha’ held in the coastal hamlet against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project on Thursday, died in a private hospital at Nagercoil on Friday.

The complaint, preferred by the victim’s wife S. Sabima, alleged that A. Sahayaraj (42), who was standing on the groyne as part of the agitation, was scared by the Indian Coast Guard’s Dornier aircraft flying over the protesters at very low altitude and fell on the granite boulders of the groyne and sustained head injury.

Later he died in the hospital.

When the anti-Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project protesters stood in the waist-deep water in the sea as they started their ‘jal satyagraha’ on Thursday demanding the scrapping of the nuclear power programme, the Indian Coast Guard’s Dornier aircraft, usually used for surveillance, was piloted at very low altitude to monitor the agitation.

As Sahayaraj was standing on the groyne when the aircraft flew at very low-level, he fell down from the breakwater, suffered head injury and died later, the complaint said.

However, eyewitnesses said he reportedly jumped in excitement and tried to hold on to the twin-turboprop Short Takeoff and Landing (STOL) aircraft as it came down. Consequently, he lost his balance and fell on the huge granite boulders.

With severe bleeding injuries on the head, Sahayaraj was rushed to a private hospital in Nagercoil, where he breathed his last on Friday.

Even as the victim was battling for his life in a private hospital at Nagercoil, an SMS from anti-KKNPP Struggle Committee member M. Pushparayan on Thursday night alleged that Sahayaraj, frightened by the aircraft flying at low altitude, fell down on the groyne, sustained head injury and died in the hospital.

However, immediate enquiries with the hospital said the fisherman was only in coma due to grievous internal injuries in the head.

Even as around 2,000 protesters were taking part in the ‘jal satyagraha’ on Friday with black flags, the news on the fisherman’s tragic end reached Idinthakarai around 1 p.m. Immediately, the agitation was terminated and the protesters took out a silent procession after the end of Friday’s ‘jal sathyagraha’ from St. Xavier’s Church to the Lourdes’ Church where the agitation is going on for more than 400 days.

Addressing the protesters through the mobile phone, anti-KKNPP struggle committee convener S.P. Udayakumar too held the State and the Central Governments responsible for Sahayaraj’s death.

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