Contrary to speculations, villagers of Tamil Nadu’s Turunelveli district continued their protests against the Kudankulam nuclear plant on Wednesday.
To spread awareness about the project, more than 100 anti-nuclear energy activists have decided to embark on a four-day yatra from Madurai to Kudankulam on Thursday.
The Catholic Church of Tuticorin also reiterated its solidarity with the struggle, denying rumours that the parish priests were distancing themselves from the agitation.
Certain reports on Tuesday claimed the Church had withdrawn its support after Tuticorin Bishop Yvon Ambrose withdrew from the state committee that was constituted to break the impasse over the nuclear power plant.
In an official communiqué issued on Wednesday night, the bishop said he was with the people “morally and spiritually”.
“As per the Catholic Church’s teachings and the Tamil Nadu Bishop Council’s resolution, I continue to show my solidarity with my people who are under great fear and anxiety concerning the Kudankulam Nuclear Plant,” he said.
Explaining his absence from the first meeting between the Centre-appointed expert panel and state representatives on Tuesday, the bishop said he had excused himself from the panel as he “had no scientific knowledge with regard to nuclear energy and science”.
“But this has given rise to misgivings,” said bishop Ambrose, who has been campaigning actively against nuclear energy.
On Wednesday, People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), which is spearheading the agitation along with the Church, said there would be no let up in the struggle.
“Today is the 23rd day of the relay hunger strike and the enthusiasm of the protesters is intact. The Church continues to support us,” said V Pushparayan, convener of PMANE.
“It would be wrong to assume that we have given up our demand or toned down our stance, contrary to some mediareports.” The yatra of anti-nuclear activists has been organised by the National Alliance of Anti-Nuclear Movements.