S.P. Udayakumar, who has been coordinating the ongoing protests against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project, on Thursday said he was prepared to leave the coastal hamlet of Idinthakarai, the epicentre of the two-year-old agitation, to meet the Chief Minister and air his grievances pertaining to the project.
“If the police arrest me as I leave the village, I am prepared for that also,” he said.
After the police established their base at neighbouring Kooththenkuzhi following requests from the villagers, the fishermen there faced the wrath of Idinthakarai villagers for allowing the police into their hamlet. Intervening, the anti-nuke struggle committee pacified those who blamed the Koothenkuzhu villagers, many of whom have left their hamlet and stay in other places, and also tried to broker a deal between two rival groups in Kooththenkuzhi so that the police could be asked to leave the village.
A couple of days ago, it was decided that country bombs in their possession would be defused by dumping them in the sea, but the leader of one of the groups, while agreeing to the idea, insisted that it should be done in the presence of the Cheranmahadevi Sub-Collector Rohini Ramdas. This attempt failed as the other group rejected it.
Against this backdrop, Dr. Udayakumar has said he was prepared to leave the village, amid speculation that the police, besides removing the country bombs at Kooththenkuzhi, would also enter Idinthakarai with a bomb detection and disposal squad and sniffer dogs.
“While the governments, which have allowed the KKNPP’s first reactor to function with substandard components, are not worried about the public safety and the mineral mining mafia is driving a wedge between the coastal communities, I have decided to meet the Chief Minister to find a solution to this serious problem. If the police arrest me even as I leave Idinthakarai, I am prepared for that also,” Dr. Udayakumar said.
However, Superintendent of Police, Vijayendra S. Bidari said the foremost priority for the police was ensuring the early return of Kooththenkuzhi villagers to their native hamlet.
“Since a good number of families had left their native place even as enmity between local groups worsened, we are taking special measures to bring them back as early as possible. The presence of police in this village will ensure peace here and the law enforcers will ensure harmony everywhere including Idinthakarai,” Mr. Bidari said.
He also hinted that the country bombs buried in specific places around Kooththenkuzhi and Idinthakarai would be removed safely“The country bombs made either to prevent the entry of police into Idinthakarai and Kooththenkuzhi or due to the enmity prevailing between two groups, will be removed. And we have collected adequate information about the places where the country bombs have been buried,” Mr. Bidari said.