The anti-nuclear forum spearheading the stir against Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project on Friday demanded removal of former Atomic Energy Commission chief MR Srinivasan from the state expert panel to allay people's safety concerns, calling him "pro-nuclear".
People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy said it welcomed constitution of the four-member state panel but pointed out that Srinivasan was a "well-known pro-nuclear person."
Srinivasan was the former chairman and a current member of India's Atomic Energy Commission. He was also a member of the site selection committee in the 1980s for the KNPP and has been writing and speaking in favor of nuclear power and the Koodankulam project itself, S P Udayakumar, leading the anti-nuclear movement, said in a statement.
He said people had expected that the state expert team would be neutral and independent "but Dr Srinivasan is neither.So it is hard for the PMANE to accept Dr Srinivasan."
It asked the chief minister to replace Srinivasan with another expert and expand the team with experts in Geology, Oceanography and Hydrology.
PMANE also requested Jayalalithaa to make the State Expert Team meet its own experts, consider their findings and engage in a "genuine dialogue" and listen to the fears and concerns of the people and arrive at a conclusion in a democratic manner on the basis of majority opinion.
He alleged that having failed to allay the fears of the people, the Centre was sending spies into the areas around Koodankulam "to divide our communities, create fear and panic among the people and instigate violence.."
Announcing setting up of a panel in the assembly last week, Jayalalithaa had said it would submit its report soon and further action on the issue would be based on its findings.
The Indo-Russian project in Tirunelveli district has run into rough weather following continued protests from locals, spearheaded by PMANE, citing safety reasons.
A Centre-appointed Expert Committee had held several rounds of talks with protesters but failed to make any headway in breaking the deadlock.
Udayakumar hit out at DMK chief M Karunanidhi's reported comments that it was "mysterious" on the part of the state government to arrest a Madurai-based advocate who had accused the PMANE convener "of acting at the behest of a foreign power."
He alleged that Karunanidhi had "consistently compromised" on the interests and welfare of the Tamil people both here in Tamil Nadu and in Sri Lanka and "so has no moral authority to criticise the Tamil people’s genuine struggle for life and livelihood."