Tension at n-plant site, protest leader to court arrest
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An uneasy calm prevailed here on Tuesday a day after heightened anti-nuclear protests, with movement leader S P Udayakumar announcing that he would surrender before the police in the night.
Turning up unexpectedly at nearby Idinthakarai — the venue of the 48-hour fast launched after the police action on the protesters on Monday — even as the police looked for him, Udayakumar said he would surrender in the presence of a "prominent non-political national leader". He also added that the protest would continue even if he was arrested.
Addressing over 1,000 protesters a day after police opened fire at a group of fishermen in Thoothukudi district killing one of them, the Peoples Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) convenor accused the Tamil Nadu government of repressing protesters, backed by the Centre.
"I am not afraid of being arrested... even if they arrest me, people will continue the agitation," said Udayakumar. He added that he was surrendering as he had information that police were plotting a house-to-house search on the pretext that five of their men had been taken hostage by the protesters.
Confined to Indinthakarai and nearby villages, the protests had spilled over to neighbouring Thoothukudi district Monday. Police said 51 people have been taken into custody and all vehicles entering Koodankulam were being screened.
Udayakumar described as "totally baseless" Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde's claim that foreign NGOs were behind the agitation.
The anti-nuclear protests also reached Chennai, Coimbatore and Erode with activists staging demonstrations. A bus was stoned in Chennai while protesters tried to block a train in Coimbatore.
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