Chennai, Sep 16: Hundreds of protesters have buried themselves, in some cases even upto their neck, in sand near the Kudankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu. Most of them are seen holding placards which demand that fuel should not be loaded in the plant's reactor.
Prior to this mode of agitation on the shore, the protesters had formed a human chain in the sea to highlight their grievances. They had taken inspiration from the recent 'jal satyagraha' by residents of Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh.
The latter had compelled the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led government to accede to their main demand. Following the well-publicised stir, the Omkareswar Dam's water level was kept at 189 metre.
The Peoples Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) attempted to replicate the Khandwa protests in Kudankulam but the move did not succeed as the Supreme Court did not stay the fuel loading.
As the apex court has promised to look into the risks associated with the Kudankulam project, PMANE is now trying to focus attention on the safety of people living near the nuclear plant. Hence the change in strategy, and consequently the protesters shifted from the sea to the shore.
Incidentally, the movement's convenor SP Udayakumar who is accused of acting at the behest of foreign countries has evaded arrest till date. Though he was supposed to surrender on Sep 11, Udayakumar did not turn up before the police.
However, one of his associates Satishkumar was taken into custody on Sep 14 when he allegedly instigated some fishermen in Chennai against the Kudankulam project.
In view of the continuing protests, the central and state governments are taking no chances. At present, the area around the nuclear plant is swarming with police personnel.
Not only has the Rapid Action Force been deployed in the coastal town, the Coast Guard is also closely watching the movement of boats in the waters off Idinthakarai.