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The protesters have floated fibre boats and bouys in the sea and intend to stay there for the whole day today. More than 5,000 security personnel have been deployed and the Coast Guard has positioned five vessels in the area to prevent any untoward incident. Meanwhile, there is heavy security on all roads leading to the plant, Personnel from the Additional Coast Guard, Rapid Action Force, Central Reserve Police Force and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) have been deployed at all key junctions, the plant site and in the neighbouring villages.
The protesters are demanding the closure of the plant, citing safety concerns. The locals say they are worried about ecological damage by radioactivity which could affect the livelihood of thousands of fishermen around the plant. Activists have also cited the Fukushima disaster in Japan, triggered by a tsunami last year, to draw parallels about the dangers of a nuclear plant.
The villagers are also demanding the release of those arrested in an earlier protest, and taking back what they term as false cases against activists. They also want the police to be withdrawn from their villages.
Last month, a protest that lasted several days ended in police action on villages around the nuclear plant, where several people were arrested. The cops were indicted by an independent commission of using excess force at that time. Police had used tear gas and lathicharge to control the protesters, who had threatened to storm the plant from the sea.
Though protests have been continuing against the nuclear plant, the Supreme Court has cleared its operationalization under the condition that all safety mechanisms are in place. The government has assured the court that the plant is safe and is “fully equipped to withstand” Fukushima-type incidents.
(With PTI inputs)