What ails India’s democracy – THE SILENT EMERGENCY


Over two weeks ago, many of you – in fact a group of a hundred women – signed on to an appeal letter addressed to Selvi Jayalalitha, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, and the Chairperson of the National Commission on Women, asking that immediate action be taken to release Selvi, Sundari and Xavier Ammal – the three women activists and leaders from Idinthakarai who had been arrested on Sept 10 while carrying out a totally peaceful protest on the beaches near the KKNPP.Press releases were sent out to several newspapers and news channels carrying the names of several eminent women who had added their names to the petition, in addition to scores of other academics, writers, housewives, students and activists from across the country. With the exception of one or two newspapers, the news was ignored/blanked out by media.

Worse still, there has been no acknowledgement of receipt of the letters, let alone the courtesy of a reply, to date.

And just today, when I spoke to Uday Kumar in Idinthakarai – to tell him of our round of visits to party leaders and MPs in Delhi on the issue of Koodankulam and Nuclear Energy, he gave us the shocking news below:

“Four more cases against Xavier Ammal and Sundari slapped today by police.Yesterday morning, bail was ordered by the Madurai High Court on 6 cases against Xavier and Selvi, and 8 cases against Sundari. Evidently, the police filed fresh cases to prevent their release and suppress the Koodankulam movement.

Organise, Agitate. Demand release of the ~100 prisoners, revocation of the thousands of cases, and immediate moratorium on the reactor.”

This is both shocking and frightening. for the last three days a group of us has been doing the rounds in Delhi, meeting MPs from many political parties to raise concerns on Koodankulam, why nuclear energy , and demanding action against the

repression let loose on peaceful protest against KKNPP.Many of them have expressed themselves personally against nuclear Energy. Without exception they have condemned the action as undemocratic, but then hide behind the fact that this is a state subject about which they are helpless to take any action! Unbelievable and shameful.

What recourse do we have as citizens when even Parliament is unable or unwilling to take action on such blatant trampling of a peaceful, totally non violent campaign with all the might of the law against unarmed citizens who were only carrying out their democratic right to raise their concerns against the imposition of a dangerous plant in their midst?

RAISE YOUR VOICES, ORGANISE, AGITATE, DEMAND THE RELEASE OF ALL THOSE ARRESTED. AND YES, AN IMMEDIATE MORATORIUM ON THE REACTOR.

In closing, may I add that it this point it does not matter if you personally believe or dont believe in the value or inevitability of Nuclear energy for India. Personally I oppose it totally, but right now we are protesting the sheer brutality , as also the arbitrary and authoritarian manner in which the State has chosen to put down peaceful dissent.

Please raise your voices in and from every forum to which you belong. Write, speak, send messages to the leadership – both national and especially in Tamil Nadu.

I can do no better than to leave you with this inspirational message from Dr Helen Caldicott which I am copying below. Hard hitting and direct. Can she be more clear?!

Greetings to all – in solidarity – and requesting you to pass this on widely – take action as you think fit, we need to be heard.\Lalita Ramdas