Kudankulam: As tension simmered, security forces on Wednesday sealed almost the entire town housing the atomic power plant with anti-nuclear movement leader S P Udayakumar remaining elusive after a somersault on his surrender offer.

Kudankulam, the hotbed of the over year-long protests which turned violent on Monday, has almost been sealed by armed policemen who took positions at important places, especially around the KNPP site, allowing transportation of only essential commodities while clamping down on strangers.

Police said they were checking vehicles and sealed areas around the nuclear plant as shops in nearby Idinthakarai and some other areas remained closed for the third day on Wednesday. Bus services remained off roads in and around Kudankulam.

Inspector General of Police Rajeshi Dass told reporters that police were searching for Udayakumar and several others in connection with the Monday's violence.

The stepped up security came as KNPP officials continued to make preparations for loading enriched uranium into the first reactor, which according to plant sources was expected to start in the next few days.

The current bout of intensified protests, including the failed bid to lay siege to the plant, was launched by People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy to prevent loading of fuel for which regulatory authorities gave the approval recently.

A day after PMANE Convener Udayakumar made a dramatic appearance and announced he would turn up before police last night, anti-corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal today announced he would not surrender.

Shortly after he made the surrender announcement even while the police were on the lookout for him, Udayakumar was whisked away in a boat by his supporters who rejected his offer.

"I met Udayakumar in the morning and requested him not to surrender. He should use all legal remedies...it is extremely important that he remains outside and should not offer himself to police. He is convinced and he agreed," Kejriwal, who has backed the anti-KNPP movement, told reporters.

(Agencies)

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