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Anti-nuke demo takes to the water

Protesters vow to stay in sea near plant

Protesters in the water near the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant Protesters in the water near the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant
  • ucanews.com reporter, Idinthakarai
  • India
  • September 13, 2012
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An anti-nuclear protest in Tamil Nadu has taken a new turn after demonstrators jumped into the sea, vowing to stay there until their demands are met.

Protesters are demanding that the government scraps plans to fire up the first of two reactors at a nuclear plant.

The move comes on the heels of a successful 17-day protest in Madhya Pradesh by 50 villagers who stood neck-deep in water to demand compensation for land taken for the construction of a state dam project.

“Our people have no future. So we don’t care whether we die in the sea or on land,” said Initha David, a housewife who joined the water protest.

The Supreme Court of India today refused to issue a court order halting the installation of fuel rods in one of the two 1,000 MW reactors at the power plant in Koodankulam.

The court heard a plea calling for a halt to the installation because safety measures have allegedly not been implemented.

Women and children from Idinthakarai, four kms from the plant, led the water protest, entering the sea around noon while shouting anti- police, state and federal government slogans.

“We will remain in the sea to register our protest against the insensitivity of the government,” said Father Mypa Jesuraj, who is heading the protest.

Anger over the project has been gathering momentum for over a year, as people fear that a disaster like the one at Fukushima could occur in Koodankulam.  They have called on the state government to allow an independent body to conduct oceanography, hydrology and geology studies around the plant.

The protests stepped up a gear on Sunday when news broke of the fuel rods being installed. Thousands of police officers were deployed in and around the facility to keep the protesters out.They fired tear gas on Monday to disperse the crowd.

In a separate demonstration, one person was killed when police opened fire on protesters in nearby Tuticorin district. Protests against the plant have spread to other areas in the state, including the capital Chennai.

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Anti-nuke protest turns violent

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