Police are still in no mood to either seize bombs or arrest their fabricators
Idinthakarai, the epicentre of the anti-Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project agitation and situated just 2 km north of the project site, appears to be on the edge of lawlessness with the latest round of country bomb-hurling on Monday by feuding groups. While one group is said to be close to the panchayat president, the other opposes the project.
Equally disconcerting are reports that the local police are still in no mood to either seize the bombs stockpiled in the coastal hamlet or arrest their fabricators even after the latest act of violence that sent everyone in a tizzy.
Both Idinthakarai and neighbouring Kooththenkuzhi are known for allegedly harbouring elements who make country bombs to settle scores between fishermen groups. Several lives had been lost in the clashes that occurred in the past on the land and sea in which these explosives were liberally used.
This prompted the police to conduct surprise checks twice a year based on the intelligence inputs from the two villages, the exercise did not go very far. It helped, though, in preventing clashes, and it stopped abruptly a couple of years ago. After that, the police even stopped entering the village when the anti-KKNPP agitation intensified.
While the Chennai-based police brass showed extreme patience in seizure of the explosives, police officers here were keen on disarming the villagers at the earliest. Meanwhile, a massive explosion at Tsunami Colony, 1.5 km from the KKNPP complex, killed 8 persons on November 26 last.
From a shattered dwelling, which appeared to be an illegal explosives factory in the middle of a residential layout, the bomb disposal squad, which recovered two live bombs, seized 7.25 kg of explosive materials.
It was then expected that the police would enter the village to weed out the explosives buried in the nearby areas within the next couple of days. But it never happened. This has emboldened the culprits cultivating terror in the village.Firm action sought
Narrating the problems being created by a section of the villagers to undermine the peace with improvised explosive devices, Sahaya Egythin, president of the Vijayapathi panchayat, which includes Idinthakarai village, submitted a petition to the Tirunelveli Collector on June 5 last, seeking firm police action against them. But no action has been taken so far.
Subsequently, the warring groups also submitted petitions at the Collectorate, levelling allegations against each other and favouring seizure of the bombs. During the peace talks held at Radhapuram on two occasions, they undertook to surrender all explosives in their possession.
But nothing positive has happened to ensure the peaceful living of ordinary people at Idinthakarai and Kooththenkuzhi and ensure the safety of the KKNPP complex, supposed to be a ‘high security zone’.
District Superintendent of Police K.S. Narenthiran Nair said a team, led by Valliyoor DSP Balaji, which visited Idinthakarai after Monday’s violence, recovered two unexploded bombs. The police were collecting information about the bombs in the village.
“If any credible information is received and the same can be corroborated, the police will seize the bombs through surprise checks,” Mr. Nair said.