Protesters say the strike is over for now, but their struggle will continue; Fishing and trade remain suspended
Anti-nuke protesters at Idanthikarai have decided to call off their indefinite hunger-strike for the time being. Archbishop Peter Fernando of Madurai Latin archdiocese offered lime water to protesters to break their fast.
Nine representatives from the protesting fishing villages around the Koodankulam nuclear power project held discussions with District Collector R Selvaraj for almost five hours. Thirteen people including PMANE leaders Dr SP Udayakumar and Pushparayan were on hunger strike since 19 March.
“But we will not stop our agitation. We have decided to call off the hunger strike. No shops will open in our village and none will go for fishing. We want all the arrested persons from Koodankulam to be released at the earliest and false cases registered against them to be scrapped,” said Pushparayan.
During the meeting, the district collector of Tirunelveli assured the protesters that he would lift Section 144 orders imposed in Radhapuram taluke. But the villagers wanted an assurance from the officials. They also demanded that all those who were arrested should be released immediately. But the collector told them that he couldn’t assure such things as they have to undergo legal procedures.
Selvaraj also assured the protesters that he would take prompt action against those who vandalised the school run by Udayakumar.
Jeemon Jacob is Bureau Chief, South with Tehelka.