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German deported, anti-Kudankulam activist cries foul

Tuesday February 28, 2012 11:20:35 PM, IANS

Chennai/New Delhi: A German national was deported from India Tuesday on grounds of raising funds for protests against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project, prompting an anti-nuclear activist to say the move was anti-tourist.

A police officer told IANS in Chennai that Sonnteg Reiner Hermann's visa was cancelled and he was put on a flight to Germany Tuesday morning and deported. He was brought to Chennai Monday night.

In New Delhi, Acting German Ambassador Cord Meier-Klodt
said his government was not in touch with the Indian authorities on the matter.

"We learnt about the incident this morning and through our channels we were informed that by now he has left the country," Meier-Klodt told reporters.

Activist R.S. Lal Mohan termed the development "unfortunate".

"It is an unfortunate news. He is a genuine tourist and has been visiting various countries. It is a bad development for the country's tourism," Lal Mohan said in Chennai.

In a joint operation by central intelligence agencies and Tamil Nadu police, Hermann who was staying at Nagercoil in Tamil Nadu on a tourist visa was Monday questioned about his involvement in raising funds for anti-KNPP protests. Nagercoil is 645 km from here.

According to police, based on the information from central intelligence agencies, Hermann's room was checked and he was questioned.

Police said Hermann was in touch with Lal.

Confirming that he knows the German, Lal said: "I don't know whether he was involved in raising funds for anti-KNPP protestors. But being anti-nuclear does not mean one is anti-national."

The development comes days after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in an interview to the American Science magazine accused NGOs based in the US and Scandinavian countries of funding the protests.

The central government later said it has cancelled the licences of three NGOs without revealing their names.

India's nuclear power plant operator, NPCIL, is building two 1,000 MW atomic power reactors with Russian collaboration at Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district, around 650 km from Chennai.

However, villagers in Kudankulam, Idinthakarai and nearby areas, fearing their safety in case of any accident, are dead set against the project.

Their agitation, led by the People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), has put a stop to the project work, delaying the commissioning of the first unit slated for December 2011.







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