An uneasy calm prevails in Kudankulam and Idinthakarai in the wake of the protesters’ threat to march towards the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project site on Sunday for laying siege to it, and the deployment of around 4,000 police personnel to face any eventuality.
The anti-Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project agitation, which started a year ago at Idinthakarai, has almost reached the climax with the protesters making a last-ditch effort to prevent enriched uranium fuel being loaded on to the first reactor.
If the fuel loading passes off uneventfully, then the year-long agitation will become meaningless, feel the protesters, who also believe that their desperate move will exert pressure on the Union Government to put off plans for commissioning the KKNPP.
The agitation, hitherto confined to coastal hamlets, may overflow on the roads leading to the KKNPP as part of the protest, which may trigger a possible conflict with the police.
Announcements were made by priests in a few churches in the coastal villages of the district on Saturday morning appealing to the devotees to join the ‘satyagraha’ on Sunday.
Anticipating a huge mobilisation by protesters from various coastal villages from Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts, around 4,000 police personnel have been deployed on the roads near Kudankulam and Idinthakarai. Sandbags have been piled up by the police on the roadside.
Warning ribbons have been tied around the ground-level wells – both used and unused – around Vairaavikinaru to caution passersby. “The protesters may run for cover in case of a possible police action tomorrow. To prevent them from falling into the wells, we’ve tied the warning ribbons,” said a police officer. Perfect functioning of all streetlights in this region has been ensured by the local panchayats following a direction from the Assistant Director (Panchayat).
During vehicle checks by officials attached to the Regional Transport Offices at Tenkasi, Tirunelveli and the Motor Vehicle Inspectors of Valliyoor, 20 vehicles, including jeeps, autorickshaws and an earthmover, which did not have valid documents, were seized. The impounded vehicles have been taken to the Radhapuram police station.