N-plant protests spread, 250 arrested in Tuticorin | india | Hindustan Times
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N-plant protests spread, 250 arrested in Tuticorin

The fragile peace at Kudankulam lasted through Sunday, but elsewhere in Tamil Nadu and neighbouring Kerala, it was a day of protests and arrests. In Tuticorin, around 250 protesters on way to Kudankulam were arrested. Ramesh Babu reports.

india Updated: Sep 17, 2012 01:23 IST

The fragile peace at Kudankulam lasted through Sunday, but elsewhere in Tamil Nadu and neighbouring Kerala, it was a day of protests and arrests.

In Tuticorin, around 250 protesters on way to Kudankulam were arrested. They included Periyar Dravida Kazhagam leader Kolathur Mani and leaders of Naan Thamilar Iyakkam and Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam.

In Kerala's Parassala, police stopped a "solidarity march" by cultural leaders to Kudankulam.

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For Tamil Nadu Police, though, SP Udayakumar, convener of the People's Movement Against Nuclear Power, remained the 'most wanted'. Udayakumar, who had planned to surrender after the protest turned violent last week, has been on the run.

The police have slapped at least 50-odd cases against the US-returned teacher, but for the fishermen of southern Tamil Nadu, he is 'Anna' (big brother).

They have a reason. The Kudankulam movement, confined to a few fishing hamlets, received national attention after Udayakumar took charge.

"His influence among the costal community is tremendous," said Idanthakarai parish priest Fr Jayakumar. "We are ready to die for him," said local fisherman T Joseph, who was among the protesters who, on Sunday, buried themselves up to waist in sand on the beach.

Born in Nagarcoil, Udayakumar, 53, studied English literature and got a PhD in political science from Hawaii. He taught in Ethiopia and the US and returned to India in 2001. Here, he founded an NGO.

But Udayakumar's office and house were raided following intelligence reports over irregularities in funding.

"He believes in non-violent agitations," said Dr RS Lal Mohan, a retired scientist of the Indian Council of Atomic Research associated with the anti-nuke movement.

But the police scoff at the "Gandhian method" tag. "Gandhiji always led the masses from the front. He never ran away from his responsibility," said V George, additional director general of police.

(With PTI, UNI inputs)