Kudankulam (TN)/New Delhi: A fisherman was killed in firing on anti-nuclear protesters at a coastal village in Tuticorin district while they clashed with police near the Kudankulam nuclear power plant, torching local administrative offices.

Police said a 44-year old fisherman was killed when it opened fire at a group of people who clashed with them while blocking a road in Manapad coastal village as the protest spilled to neighbouring Tuticorin District.

In Delhi, Government accused some foreign NGOs of instigating the protesters.

Opposing loading of uranium at Kudankulam in Tirunelveli District, the focal point of agitation for the last two days, over 2,000 protesters fought pitched battles throwing stones and logs. Police resorted to lathicharge and burst teargas shells to disperse them.

The police action came after authorities failed to persuade the protesters who, for the second day, defied prohibitory orders and stayed put at the seashore, about 500 metres away from the Kudankulam plant.

Sporadic violence then followed as enraged groups of protesters set fire to a local Panchayat office, the Village Administrative Officer's office and a state-run liquor retail shop in Kudankulam, in an ugly turn to the over year-long peaceful protest.

The protest spilled into Tuticorin where about 500 people stopped a train for some time by squatting on track. The protestors also blocked Tuticorin-Nagercoil highway.

"Foreign NGOs are supporting the movement. We are aware about the NGOs which are behind it," Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told reporters.

Shinde said government was very clear as far as nuclear energy is concerned and wanted it to be produced in India as it was cheap and clean.

In February, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had blamed some US-based NGOs for putting difficulties in launching the Kudankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu.

Government had also probed fundings of around 12-13 Indian voluntary organisations which were launching the protest movement in Kudankulam.

In Chennai, appealing for peace, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa asked the people not to fall prey to anti-nuclear lobbyists, insisting that the project is safe.

Condeming the police action, People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy, spearheading the protest against KNPP, announced a 48-hour relay fast against it.

BJP lashed out at the police action and held the UPA Government at Centre responsible for the "riot-like situation" in Kudankulam.

Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy demanded that the army be put on stand-by to assist the Tamil Nadu government in quelling the protesters.

The protesters gave the call for the siege as a last-ditch effort to stall the Indo-Russian project after regulatory authorities gave their nod for loading the uranium fuel in the first of the two reactors.

A bandh-like situation prevailed here and surrounding villages with shops and schools remaining shut. The villagers also dug up main roads leading to Idinthakarai in a bid to prevent police vehicles from entering it.

Around 4,000 security personnel, including Rapid Action Force, have been deployed in the area.

The first unit of KNPP was scheduled for commissioning in December last, but ran into rough weather with the locals demanding its scrapping on safety concerns.


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