Director General of Police K. Ramanujam said protesters who marched towards Kudankulam would have attacked the nuclear power plant had the police not intervened.
Contending that the police had exercised restraint for several months, he said over 5,000 people, including women, ignored repeated warnings by police not to head towards the plant. “Even as police were negotiating, they attacked them. Nets were laid on the sand to trap the police. Our priority was to protect the nuclear power plant. Some men in boats were also heading towards Kudankulam…many agitators were armed with logs.”
On the firing in Tuticorin district which claimed the life of one person, Mr. Ramanujam said a group of agitators set on fire a temporary out-post and attacked the police when they tried to prevent further damage. “We have deployed additional manpower in trouble-prone areas. Two companies of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) attached to the Central Reserve Police Force are being roped in. Senior police officers have been rushed to Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts,” he said.
Additional Director-General of Police (Law and Order) S. George, who is camping in Kudankulam, accused the protesters of putting children in harm’s way. “A large number of children and women were made to stand in the forefront of the agitation. The protesters were heading to storm the nuclear power plant and had strategies to attack the police. DIG (Tirunelveli Range) Varadaraju suffered a cut injury on his leg. At least 30 other police personnel were injured after the unruly mob threw stones and hit them with logs. Many accused persons took boats and escaped into the sea.”
Inspector General and Commander of Coast Guard (Region East) Satya Prakash Sharma said patrol ships were deployed along the sea in the Kudankulam area. “We have enhanced surveillance and any unwanted element moving in the area will be detained and handed over to police,” he said.
U. Arulanandam, Tamil Nadu Representative of the ‘Alliance for the Release of Innocent Fishermen’ condemned the firing in which a fisherman was killed. Accusing the police of instigating the fishermen to indulge in violence, he said the actual motive (of the police) was to arrest People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy convener S.P. Udayakumar.
He said tht the fishermen associations in the coastal districts were deeply concerned over the incident and they were planning to go on a strike.
“The protesters are not fighting for nuclear power or any other benefit. We are only saying that the KKNPP is a potential threat to safety and its effluents will destroy the fish at sea...it is fight for our livelihood. Women and children are also agitating because it will affect their lives as well,” Mr. Arulanandam said.