SP Udayakumar, the leader of the movement against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu told Hindustan Times at his hideout that their agitation would be intensified unless the safety issues associated with the plant are addressed by the authorities.
“There is no going back now,” he said, rejecting the charge that his organisation, People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy has been creating panic among people around the plant by citing the Fukushima disaster in Japan in which hundreds of people were killed last year.
“Nobody is using Fukushima to whip up passions. We believe that nuclear plants are not the answer for growing power needs. When other countries are busy exploring safer and cleaner alternatives why we are so keen on nuclear power?” he said.
“The SC has agreed to examine the risk associated with the plant. Let the authorities allay the fear of the people,” he said, adding, “We have been protesting for more than a year but nobody listened to us.”
Asked why the movement turned violent, he blamed the authorities for “unnecessarily provoking and terrorising poor people”.
Protest claims another life
The agitation against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant claimed one more life on Friday when a fisherman, who was hospitalised after falling on rocks in panic when a Coast Guard aircraft flew close to the ground, succumbed to injuries.
Protesters said Sahayam, 42, a father of four children, fell on the rocks and injured his head badly when he panicked as the aircraft monitoring the protests flew at a low level on Thursday.
He was rushed to a hospital in nearby Nagarcoil but could not be saved. The police are yet to confirm the cause of death.
On Monday, a fisherman was killed in police firing after which protesters offered jal satyagraha by standing in the sea from Thursday.
Coast Guard ships and aircraft maintained a strict vigil as villagers stood neck-deep in the sea. They stepped up their stir after preparation for fuel-loading at the power plant was announced on Thursday.