High K-plant security amid sea-siege

Around 5,000 fishermen in about 800 fibre and mechanised boats held a protest at sea against the KKNPP on a four-point demand of scrapping the nuclear power project, withdrawing all cases registered against the anti-KKNPP activists, releasing those arrested for participating in protests and withdrawing the police from the fishermen hamlets.

The male-dominated protest that started around 10 am was led by Mr S.P. Udayakumar, Mr M. Pushparayan, Mr Muhilan and Fr M.P. Jesuraj.

The fishermen from Idinthakarai were joined by their brethren from the nearby coastal hamlets of Koothankuli, Kooduthalai, Periyathalai, Perumanal, Uvari and Koottapanai in Tirunelveli district.

Around 400 fibre boats and country rafts with outboard engine from Kanyakumari joined the Tirunelveli district fishermen right behind KKNPP. Around 15 mechanised vessels from the Chinnamuttom fishing harbour joined forces.

Hoisting black flags in their boats, the fishermen stationed themselves about 500 metres from the dyke built behind the nuclear power plant and raised slogans.

They were strictly instructed by their leaders not to cross the buoys floated to mark the boundary of the prohibited area.

Speaking to the media onboard a boat, Mr Udayakumar said they have been fighting to preserve their freedom and the natural resources of the country that are being opened up to be plundered by multinational companies.

The boats arranged for mediapersons flew red flags, while those supplying food and water for the protesters had green flags and a boat of the medical team, a white flag.

The security forces were on full alert around the nuclear power plant. The coastal security group along with the marine police carried out constant patrolling in four high-speed boats.

CISF commandos, rapid action force and special task force were posted on the dyke. The police were found in good numbers along roads leading to KKNPP.

While the Indian coast guard plane that flew very low during the earlier anti-KKNPP protests flew high above the protesters Monday, coast guard vessel ICGS Veera from the Thoothukudi station was also pressed into service.

The protest, claimed to be a sea-siege by the anti-KKNPP activists, wound up by 4 pm and the leaders said further action would be decided by the village committees on Sunday.

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