The Women of Koodankulam
People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy
We hope this letter finds you well. We are sure that you would have liked to hear the same from us. But today, we cannot say that even to fool you or fool this moment in history.Things are not fine with us anymore here in Idinthakarai, Tsunami Rehabilitation Colony, Koodankulam, Koottapuli, Perumanal, Koottapana, Manappad and so on. The situation in Thoothukudy where our friends fasted inside the Church in support became tense after we lost a dear brother. How can we say we feel good?
Today morning, a sister from nearby Tsunami colony was arrested as she got out of her house. We miss the unifying presence of Xavieramma, the quick and efficient Sundari and the slight Selvi who have been taken to a destination that is unknown. Our homes painstakingly built up with hard earned money and effort have been broken down, with utensils and almirahs thrown out and trampled upon. Many of us are not able to go back there and evaluate what has been lost or destroyed. Our friend Inita was hurt badly. So too, many children. The worst part is the fear that now fills the eyes of our small ones. As all this was happening, many of us were paralysed by the cries of the tiny tots whom we had to carry, drag and run in the sand.
We hear that 60 of our friends from Koodankulam are in jail somewhere. It seems improbable that 20 men who were undergoing treatment for injuries in hospitals have not come back home after being discharged, but that is the truth. We have no drinking water supply since 48 hours and electric supply is intermittent. We are on a 48 hour fast too. The friends from Thoothukudy are ready to bring us rice and other provisions, but they have not been able to reach us because of road blocks. Our children have not gone to school. They have not been bathed or fed properly since the 9th evening. We feel uncomfortable and scared to go to our own homes. Have you ever had that feeling?
Now we are sitting and sleeping in the comfort of each other and the security of the Samara pandal which has been our second home for over an year. But for how long?
Many would say we brought it on ourselves and have no right to complain. But what other way did we have? To agree to the commissioning of the Koodankulam Power Plant? After knowing that it will spew 50 trillion Becquerels of radio nuclides every year into the air and discharge 70 tons of water at temperatures varying between 36- 45 degree centigrade? Would you have felt good to be one of the 2000 living less than 900 metres away from the Plant? After seeing the Fukushima disaster and images from Chernobyl, how could we agree to all this just close by? Many say we have been brainwashed and misled. Yes, ignorance is bliss. But not in this case. We are glad to be informed and to know with clarity about what could be in store for us. This alone has empowered us and strengthened our resolve not to allow the commissioning of the Nuclear Plant.
We hear that instead of immediately withdrawing the police force and initiating a decent dialogue with us, many were talking about the foreign funds and the poor illiterate people that we are supposed to be. At this stage at least when we are back to the wall, please do not refer to us so. We have built up this movement with our daily toil. We are proud of this. We are not afraid of hard, honest work as long as the sea and land is there.
We reiterate our earlier request and demands even now:
1.Please intervene and stop all police force in and around the villages. We do not intend to commit any violence. We know that violence begets violence. We value our life and peace.
2. Please stop the commissioning of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant immediately after engaging in a dialogue with us. We know that it is unsafe and the energy so produced is uneconomical and unnecessary.
3. Please engage in a national level talk on other sources of energy that are in surplus in our country.
4. Release all our friends and family arrested and kept in jails / withdraw all false cases against them.
5. Please ensure that we would be able to live in our homes without fear and that basic amenities like water and electricity will not be disrupted.
Do have the boldness and honesty to come here and see for yourself the beauty and simplicity of our lives. This is the time we need you. Please break the barricades and hindrances that have been created and walk in fearlessly to see us here. Please act and intervene as fast as possible. We cannot afford to lose one more life, scare one more child, break one more house anymore….
Do stand by truth, justice and womanhood
September 12, 2012