Women of Koodadankulam – We do not want to be branded terrorists #Vaw #Womenrights


From
The Women Of Idinthakarai
People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy
Idinthakarai
Thirunelveli District
Tamil Nadu
Dear Friends.

Today, April 16,2013, we women, men and children, young and old will assemble under the leadership of our Village Committee to address a matter of urgent concern for us and our movement. As you all would remember, we have been raising questions about the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant based in Idinthakarai, the village closest to the plant for the past 600 days. Our questions and concerns have not been answered, our peaceful protests have been dealt with violence and suppression and we have been treated like enemies and anti-nationals.

Women protesting in Koodankulam

Women protesting in Koodankulam

Since yesterday we have been discussing the Department of Environment’s audacity in giving clearance to the impacts of water being discharged back to our life- giving oceans at high temperature and salinity. Don’t we all know that it will kill and harm the vital fisheries which provide food and livelihood to us all? We have also been very worried about the deal between the notorious Russian Company Zio Podolsk and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd which has led to the use of substandard materials in the making of KKNPP.

Last night as many of us tried to sleep in the Samara Pandal in the courtyard of the Lourdes Church we were disturbed by the sight of armed men entering the premises and loitering around. Not wanting to provoke them, we were able to understand by midnight that there is a drinking brawl happening just outside our village with the connivance of some local leaders and police. This is a matter of urgent concern for us as we see the beginning of violence and strife that they will instigate and nurture.

As you all know, our strength has been the steadfast commitment to peace and non-violence and we have chosen the path of informed and reasonable resistance after days of preparation and thought. One spark is enough to ignite the smoldering anger and frustration within us at the callous indifference, the criminal neglect and planned avoidance that we have been subjected to for years. We do not want to be victims of the divisive, annihilative forces of caste and religion, non-secular forces and criminalization of politics that has been happening in our country. We do not want to be branded terrorists and sacrifice our youth to become uncreative rebels whose life will languish behind bars.
This is what we want to reiterate today as we prepare for the crucial meeting. Our struggle is for justice and peace, for participation in democracy, for pursuing our livelihoods and life in this seashore village, for true development and progress.

Do stand by us and use all your capacity and contacts to build networks by which this message will reach the world

From Idinthakarai 16.04.2013

Anitha.S in conversation with friend in PMANE.
catastrophe64@gmail.com

 

PRESS RELEASE- Four anti nuke activists booked under Goondas Act, exonerated by Madras HC


Four persons belonging to Idinthakarai and Koodankulam villages, who had been booked under Goondas Act since September 2012, have been exonerated by the Madras High Court (Madurai bench). In all, six men ranging in age from 23 to 68, were charged under Goodas as part of the State Government’s harassment campaign against the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy. All six have served between three and five months in jail on trumped up charges.

 

The Madras High Court’s decision to lift charges under Goondas Act further proves the long-standing allegation that the Tamil Nadu Government has abused the Indian Penal Code to stifle democratic dissent and crush the movement against the nuclear power plant.

 

In all, the Koodankulam Police Station has filed at least 325 cases against more than 200,000 people, including cases involving sedition and waging war against the state against nearly 10,000 people. Since most of the cases are against unnamed persons, it has been convenient for the Police to arrest randomly and then link the arrested persons to any one of the 325 cases.

Yesterday, the Madras High Court’s Madurai bench exonerated the following persons based on an appeal filed against the confirmations of Goondas Act by the NSA and Goondas Board.
Lourdusamy, age 68, Idinthakarai. Arrested 10.9.12. Crime Nos. 349/12, 300/12, 70/12 — Vellore prison (Sedition and Waging War)
Nazraen, age 41, Idinthakarai. Arrested 10.9.12. Crime Nos. 349/12, 300/12, 70/12 — Vellore prison (Sedition and Waging War)
Thavasi Kumar aka Kumar, age 33, Vairavikinaru. Arrested 9.10.12. Crime Nos. 348/12, 350/12, 346/12 — Palayamkottai prison (Sedition and Waging War)
Jesurajan, age 38, Koodankulam. Arrested end October, 2012. Crime Nos. 341/12. 342/12, 345/12, 352/12 — Palayamkottai prison (Sedition and Waging War)

The appeal against the Goondas Board confirmation for Sindhu Bharat is coming up for hearing today. Details of Sindhu Bharat are as follows:
Sindhu Bharat, age 23, Koodankulam. Arrested 9.10.12. Crime Nos. 349/12, 350/12, 70/12 — Palayamkottai prison (Waging war)

The appeal against the Goondas Board confirmation for Santiahu Rayappan (details below) is expected to come up for hearing later this month.
Santiahu Rayappan, age 33, Idinthakarai. Arrested November 2012. Crime Nos. 349/12, 304/12, 397/12.

The rules governing the draconian Goondas Act require that named persons should be produced before the Goondas Board and the Board’s report confirming or rejecting the invocation be submitted to the Government within 7 weeks (50 days) of invocation of the Act. However, it is now more than 7 weeks since the appearance of the named persons before the Board. The Board is yet to submit a report on four out of six persons.

Of the six, four people were represented by Adv. Lajapatarai and his team in Madurai on behalf of the PMANE. Two others arranged their own counsels.

by-nityanand jayaraman

#India- Koodankulam: A Nuclear Plant in My Backyard #mustshare


 Amirtharaj Stephen

January 16, 2013 · , gallin.in

I come from a village called Kavalkinaru in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu, not very far from Kanniyakumari. My father was employed at a Heavy Water Plant in Tuticorin and I spent the first 24 years of my life in the Atomic Energy Township there. I was always told by the people in my township that nuclear energy was safe and that it was the future. I believed them.

In 2001, construction of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) had begun at a distance of about 18km from my village. In 2009, I was living in Bangalore and working as a magazine photographer, when I heard about a leakage at the Kaiga nuclear plant that exposed 50 workers to radiation. Later when I went to Cambodia for a photography workshop, I found my fellow participants discussing the issues of nuclear safety and weighing the pros and cons of nuclear energy.

Many in the region did not care much about the power plant or the effect it would have them until 2011. The tsunami that shook Japan in March that year and the subsequent Fukushima disaster however caused panic in the region. The villagers, already severely affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, began raising a lot of questions on the safety of nuclear power.  KNPP was nearing its completion just about that time and the people living in the vicinity of the plant started fearing a similar catastrophe in their region.

The Indian government, on its part, did little to allay the fears of the villagers regarding safety of the plant and preparedness in the event of a natural disaster. The response has always been ambiguous and completely lacked transparency on plant safety measures.

Since then the villagers have been involved in a non-violent protest against the nuclear power plant. Idindhakarai, a village located very close to the plant, has been the epicenter of the protest. The villagers, mostly fishermen and farmers, have been protesting against the plant for more than 500 days at Idindhakarai. They are also worried about the ecological impact the plant would have on the region. The Gulf of Mannar, after all, is an ecologically fragile region.

The Tamil Nadu state government, which took sides with the villagers initially, did a U-turn and tried to crush the agitation by using all means available at its disposal. Police force was deployed against the protestors to suppress and dissolve the protest completely. All villages within a radius of seven kilometers from plant have been under curfew since March 2012. Cases were filed against members of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), the anti-nuclear protest group, and any villager found taking active part in the agitation. Many of them were charged with sedition and waging a war against the nation.

This is the story of the brave fight being put up by the villagers.

Idinthakarai village with the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) seen in the background. May 21, 2012.

Kids belonging to fishermen families play on the beach in Koothankuli village. July 02, 2012.

A fisherman brings his boat to the fish auctioning center to sell the day’s catch. Every Wednesday, villagers collect 10% of their earnings as their contribution towards running the protest. The Indian government, which has accused that the protests are being funded by the Scandinavian NGOs to run the protest, could not produce any proof. The villagers maintain accounts of all funds collected and spent by them. October 18, 2012.

Villagers from the Koothankuli, prevented from going to Idinthakarai by the imposition of a curfew, gather in front of the church and shout anti-government slogans. May 10, 2012.

Police forces assemble  in front of the KNPP before going on rounds in Koodankulam village after the imposition of a curfew. May 10, 2012.

Villagers take a holy procession around the Koothankuli village while praying that the nuclear power plant be closed down. Most people from the region are devout Roman Catholics. May 14, 2012.

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Villagers observe a candle light vigil to pay homage to Hiroshima victims.  August 06, 2012.

Children from Idinthakarai with the post cards they have written to the Russian Ambassador requesting Russia to stop providing technical support to the project. August 06, 2012.

Women on their way to laying siege on seashore near KNPP. September 09, 2012.

Thousands of villagers protesting against the commissioning of the plant sleep on the seashore with their kids near KNPP.  September 09, 2012.

Men warm themselves by a bonfire while on an overnight protest against the commissioning of the plant. September 09, 2012.

Villagers cry and pray during a cleansing ceremony which was performed after police forces broke the idols of the Mother Mary and urinated in the church. September 15, 2012.

_MG_4943-Edit

Fishermen lay siege to Tuticorin Port and block passage of ships to protest the attack on villagers in Koodankulam  by police forces. September 22, 2012.

A woman prays to Mother Mary at the church after the police attacked villagers during the siege. September 11, 2012.

Thangamma, a 70- year-old woman was on hunger strike for over 7 days along with 260 other women demanding that the nuclear power plant be shut down. May 05, 2012.

Women plead with Dr. S.P. Udayakumar, leader of Peoples Movement Against Nuclear Energy(PMANE) to reconsider his decision to surrender to the police. Within few minutes he was lifted from the dias by a group of youngsters and carried in a boat to a safe hideout. September 11, 2012.

A coast guard aeroplane flies low over protesting villagers who ventured into the sea. September 13, 2012.

Amirtharaj_Stephen0013

Napolean, a resident of Idinthakarai, runs after being attacked by the police. September 10, 2012.

Xavieramma, a resident of Idinthakarai, cries out for help after being chased into the sea with no place to run. She was later helped out by the security forces. September 10, 2012.

Children of Sahayam cry during his funeral mass. He fell off a boulder he was standing on inside the waters due to fear when the coast guard aeroplane flew very low and was killed by the impact. September 17, 2012.

Bio:

Amirtharaj Stephen is a documentary photographer based in Bangalore. He is currently documenting the anti-nuclear protests around his native village in Tamil Nadu. He had been a participant in  the Angkor Photo Workshops and a mentee under Lucie Foundation’s E-pprentice program. He is also a foodie who loves to explore the rural cuisines.

http://www.lightstalkers.org/amirtharaj_stephen

#India-“Give up KKNPP, go for solar and wind energy”- Adm.Ramdas


TIRUNELVELI, January 1, 2013, The Hindu

Staff Reporter

 

The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project is totally unsafe and should not be commissioned, according to former Navy Chief Admiral L. Ramdoss.

With ample resources of renewable energy and over 300 bright sunny days, government agencies should tap the potential to generate wind and solar energy, instead of commissioning the high-risk nuclear energy project at Kudankulam, he said.

The technology for generating solar energy was very competitive and cheaper than nuclear energy. However, the existing grid system was not suited to tap such clean energy resources. While developed countries around the world had abandoned the nuclear energy option on grounds of safety, the Indian government was pushing ahead with the commissioning of the risky nuclear energy project, overlooking safety concerns raised by the people, especially the coastal population.

Admiral Ramdoss was addressing the media at Idinthakarai near Kudankulam on Monday.

“In my view no assurance on safety has been made by the Central government, the Russian government, NPCIL, Department of Atomic Energy or any expert from the Indian officialdom,” he noted.

In the past, experts had certified nuclear energy plants to be safe.

These included plants such as Three Mile Island in the US, Chernobyl in Ukraine and Fukushima in Japan. Yet these plants suffered accidents, he pointed out. Design of the equipment, natural causes beyond our control and human failure could cause accidents, Mr. Ramdoss warned.

“People have the right to protect themselves from the risks of nuclear energy, but all these rights have been scuttled. They have been told lies that the emerging nuclear plant is safe. It is time to give up this unsafe project and the government authorities should find alternative source of energy to safeguard the lives of the people in the vicinity of Kudankulam and protect their livelihood,.” he said.

Binayak Sen, national vice-president, People’s Union for Civil Liberty, said the judicial process had been misused and AERB norms were being flouted in the process of commissioning this nuclear plant.

The protest by the people against nuclear energy was being suppressed. The PUCL and human rights organisations had been engaged in the withdrawal of sedition charges levelled against the protesters.

Praful Bidwai, senior journalist, said fake cases had been foisted on the protesters. As many as 325 cases were filed against those involved in the agitation at Idinthakarai. Charge sheets were filed against 1,20, 000 people and 13, 350 were charged with waging a war against the State and criminal conspiracy.

As many as 8,456 persons were booked on sedition charges, 18,143 persons accused of attempt to murder and 15,565 persons charged with destroying government properties. Sixty-six persons were arrested and nine imprisoned. Forty-five persons were released on conditional bail.

Children performed cultural programmes on the eve of the New Year. S.P. Udhayakumar, convener, People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, and members of organisations against nuclear energy from various States took part in the agitation. The agitation at Idinthakarai has crossed 500 days.

 

Nuke activist Udayakumar tops TOI poll


Chennai: Anti-nuclear activist S P Udayakumar has topped the poll conducted by TOI on role models who made news in 2012 for their vision,work and commitment.
By winning over 50% of the votes,he left luminaries like acclaimed liver surgeon Dr Mohamed Rela,sportspersons Dipika Pallikal and Viswanathan Anand,actor-director Kamal Haasan and Carnatic singer T M Krishna far behind.
Even Magsaysay award winner Kulandei Francis ranked much lower as compared to the anti-nuclear activist,who is campaigning against the Kudankulam power project.
Speaking to TOI on Monday,Udayakumar said that the struggle of the people in Idinthakarai would continue in a peaceful and non-violent manner.He also promised that the people would stand their ground against the project and take the struggle to a political plane.

 

New Year breathes new life into anti-nuclear struggle at Kudankulam


 

Press Release: 1st January 2013

 

  • Activists, struggle communities along with other professionals from varied walks of life take midnight pledge to fight against the Nuclear plant and to fight the forces of death and destruction.
  • Trade Unions, environmental groups, human rights organisations, etc. extend solidarity to people’s struggle at Kudankulam
  • Scientists, senior activists, artists, film makers, lawyers & other professionals join the struggle on the eve of New Year 2013
  • Night-long celebrations at Idinthakarai beach reverberate the spirit of resistance, assertion, freedom and democracy

 

As 2012 came to a close and 2013 dawned, hundreds of people sang and danced together at the Idinthakarai coast, adjacent to the Kudankulam Nuclear Plant. Among the thousands who gathered were more than three hundred people who came from outside the region, to join the local people. They came to the coastal hamlets around Kudankulam to support the spirit of freedom, humanity, resistance and democracy represented by the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE). People’s movements from Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, West Bengal, Karnataka, Pondicherry and Tamil Nadu among other states along with activists, trade unions, professionals, artists, students and others have come to oppose the undemocratic imposition of a nuclear reactor within two kilometres of Idinthakarai. The local people have come from the coastal villages of Idinthakarai, Kudankulam, Vairavikinaru, Kuthankuzhi, Koottappuli and Perumanal.

 

The movement in Idinthakarai is representative of many people’s struggles in various parts of the country against the lack of local people’s participation in decisions that affect them and generations after them. With promises of dramatic changes for local people, mines in Jharkhand, thermal power plants in Odisha and hydro- electric plants are established. However, the experience of the local people show they are often left in the shadow of such development. This negligence of people has reached its peak with the bogus promise of electricity, energy, etc. taking the centre-stage on the issues around displacement and destructive development paradigm. This is demonstrated in the villages next to many thermal plants and dams in Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh, Odisha and places like Raichur. With corporations awaiting to grab the electricity generated at the Kudankulam plant, no different fate awaits the people of Idinthakarai, Kudankulam and even rest of Tamil Nadu.

 

31st December in Idinthakarai has turned out to be a memorable experience for the local people and those who came from different parts of India. The day began with children from all over India coming together to paint a mural against the nuclear reactor in Kudankulam. It was followed by a rally accompanied by music, song and dance through the coastal hamlets around Idinthakarai. The children took the lead to assert their right to live a life safe from the risks of nuclear radiation. With the beating of drums, the Janwadi Sanstrutik Andolan from Odisha opened the programme to welcome the people gathered in solidarity at the Idinthakarai Lourde Matha Church. Despite speaking various languages, they raised a joint voice against the proposed nuclear plant.

 

Hajirabi representing the people affected by Bhopal Gas disaster of 1984 highlighted how the people of Bhopal were continuing to live the tragedy despite all false promises of the government and Union Carbide (now Dow Chemicals). Many speakers highlighted how, when democratic people’s struggles were exercising their right to protest, they have faced difficulties, harassment, arrests and even death. The case of Sr. Valsa John was highlighted in Jharkhand, who was murdered when she was leading protests against the usurping of traditional forests of the Adivasi community for uranium mines. During this process of protests, they were labelled as traitors, enemies of the state and most recently terrorists, making it difficult to lead normal lives. Ashim Roy, General Secretary of the New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI is a national trade union of workers from varied sectors) affirmed that it is the duty of the new people’s movements to bring awareness to the old movements like trade unions, with regard to the assertive land protection struggles. He reaffirmed NTUI’s support to the struggle at Kudankulam.

 

Many speakers also highlighted how many villages across India were in a permanent siege, with many villages surrounded by the local police, the Central Reserve Police Force, the Rapid Action Force and other para military forces. In order to intimidate local resistance, thousands of fabricated cases are slapped onto protesters, who have to live with the constant threat of arrest. The experiences from Jagatsingpur (anti-POSCO struggle), Latehar (Jharkhand), Jaitapur (anti-nuclear plant struggle in Maharshtra), Chengara (land struggle in Kerala), etc. have not been different.

 

Selvam from the Tamil Nadu Eearkai Vyavasaya Sangam highlighted how the State has been painting a rosy picture for the people if they leave agriculture and other traditional livelihoods like fishing. However, speaker after speaker highlighted how various development projects have left them impoverished as lose access to their traditional livelihoods and at the same time cannot access the benefits promised by the State.

 

T. Peter from the National Fishworkers’ Forum highlighted the sacrifices the fishing community have made for the greater good of the country. It was the coastal villages and the fishworkers who sacrificed their land to establish the Thumba satellite launch station. But he asserted that for destructive developmental projects like the Nuclear project, the same fishworkers will give their life to protect land, livelihood and marine resources. It is a battle of life against the forces of death, he asserted. Peter also announced that fishworkers from across the country will hold January 21st as solidarity day in support of the people’s struggle in Kudankulam.

 

The day witnessed cultural programmes by Space theatre (Goa), Dynamic Action (Kerala), Delhi Solidarity Group, Susanta Das (West Bengal), children’s programmes from Idiantahkarai. The night witnessed songs, dances and cultural performances that lasted till the dawn of the first day of 2013. Eminent citizens and senior movement activists including Dr. Binayak SenAdmiral (Rtd) Ramdas, Achin Vinaik, Ajitha George, Adv. Colin Gonsalves, Adv. Clifton D’Rozario, Praful Bidwai, Gabriela Dietrich, Ashim Roy, Lalita Ramdas, Wilfred D’costa, Dr. Meher Engineer, T. Peter, Sr. Celia, Vilayodi Venugopal, Laha Gopalan, and others participated in the events held atLourde Matha Church premises at Idinthakarai. They were joined by eminent filmmakers, photographers, actors, singers, playwrights, scientists, and local movement representatives including Dr. S P Udayakumar, Mary, Malar Manickam, Inita Sahayam, Pushparayan, Milton and others.

 

During the evening, young activists from all over the country came together to share their dreams, hopes and aspirations of local people. They shared their hope that the development process would be more inclusive and participatory with local communities deciding on their common future. They highlighted their common dream of more democratic decision-making and a greater stake for local people in local development.

 

For details contact: Magline (09495531555), Bhargavi (09999563950) & Lakshmi (09791009160)

 

Urgent Release – Kudankulam New Year event


Kudankulam all set to witness a Celebration of Peace:

People pour in from different parts of the country to celebrate the New Year with children, women and men of the anti-nuclear struggle

 

Press Release: 29th December 2012

 

Kudankulam is all set to witness a different event; where people from various walks of life, from across India will be joining to celebrate New Year with the local people of the coastal villages of Tamil Nadu.

 

All through 2012, Kudankulam – the now famous epicentre of anti-nuclear struggle in Tamil Nadu, India – was in the news for the local people’s valiant fight against the nuclear power plant. The place became renowned for the militancy of the local fishing communities, the clashes they had with police and the kind of state repression the people had to bear, despite being a democratic and peaceful struggle. It was also in the news for the loss of ecology and livelihood that will affect the local people, if the plant was commissioned. The Indian state has rubbished their struggle and with support from the state run atomic department scientists, setting aside the concerns of the local communities as ‘unscientific apprehensions’ and ‘baseless fears’. However, to the dismay of many, the local people in thousands, continue to believe that their ongoing struggle shall succeed and that the nuclear plant will not be commissioned in their neighbourhood, which will destroy their lives, livelihood and the marine ecology they depend upon. It is evident that they are not bothered about the power of the structures that they continue to oppose effectively. Their battle against the world’s highest paid nuclear lobbies is nothing but a repetition of the old story of the battle between David and Goliath!

 

However, the coastal areas neighbouring Kudankulam are all set to witness an event of a different nature and sort. Many groups across the country have gotten together to celebrate the New Year’s eve 2013, with the people of Idinthakarai and the other coastal hamlets of Tamil Nadu. The event is titled: New Year 2013 @ Kudankulam: Celebrating Resistance, Asserting Freedom. Hundreds of people from different parts of the country will reach Idinthakarai on the 31st of December to celebrate the New Year along with the peaceful struggle of the people of the region, also to salute the spirit of the people in sustaining the battle for democracy, peace and sovereignty.

 

I want to go to Kudankulam on 01.01.2013 to be with the coastal fisherfolk as well as the common people who are resisting the proposed nuclear power plant; a danger for the sea, the sand and the people”, says Mahasweta Devi, the internationally acclaimed poet and writer (Jnanpeeth Award winner).

 

Renowned poet and award winning writer, K. Satchidanandan emotionally added: It (the struggle) is all about the politics of life against the politics of death… I would like to be at Kudankulam this New Year day as I would like to be part of this politics, which is my politics and the politics of my poetry that sings life against death and the merchants of death. I want to sing the green, to sing love, to sing the undying dreams of the people, to celebrate the people’s right to survive, to work and to enjoy their brief existence on earth in a clean environment free from Hiroshimas and Chernobyls, without having death ticking nearby like a dark nightmare concealed in concrete. Because I want many more happy New Years to dawn at Kudankulam and everywhere on our dear little planet!”

 

 “Our people are joining in this celebration of resistance, to salute the spirit of the struggling people of Kudankulam. We want to use this occasion to wish the children, men and women of the coastal area a meaningful and peaceful 2013”, said Surinder Tirkey, General Secretary, Jharkhand Mines Area Coordination Committee (JMACC). “Democratic struggles for rights and dignity are not about some poor people in utter distress trying to battle some corporations or the Indian state. It is about celebrating the resilience of the people, their faith in the democracy and constitution of India. This is why me and our cultural team are going to Kudankulam to celebrate the New Year”, states Shankar Mahanand, award winning playwright and convener of Sanskrutik Andolan, Odisha who was instrumental in leading a cultural yatra for peace and harmony after the Kandhamal riots in the state.Fishworkers from different coastal unions will be joining the people of Idinthakarai and other nearby fishing hamlets, stated T. Peter of National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF).

 

“For twenty years now, Kudankulam has seen a struggle against the commissioning of the existing two reactors. The actual work has been completed only recently but they have not been able to load the fuel rods. They promised us that they would not, unless they implement the 17 safety regulations given by AERB (Atomic Energy Regulatory Board). And they have admitted that 11 of these are still outstanding and will take another two years to fulfil… We are going to join the people in ringing the New Year bells in the hope that we will not let this disastrous project happen”, said Admiral R Ramdas, the former head of the Indian Navy.

 

“The Kudankulam struggle is a remarkable, peaceful & courageous movement. Yet Close to 7000 people have been charged for sedition & war against the Indian state. This is not just an issue of nuclear energy but of rights of people & the violation of those rights. The people of Kudankulam are in truth fighting for the kind of India that we all want”, remarked Prof. Achin Vanayak of Delhi University, who is also a founding member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament & Peace (CNDP).

 

Filmmakers, artists, musicians, activists and intellectuals from academia alike are expected to attend the gathering to be held in Idinthakarai on the 31st December evening. Prior to the New Year celebrations, filmmakers and theatre experts will be holding workshops for the children of the area, traumatised by the repression in 2012.

 

Special guests on the occasion will be the youth and children from Bhopal, who are themselves victims of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy 1984, or who are victims of the continuing water contamination by Dow Chemicals in Bhopal. They will be joined by adivasi and dalit groups and cultural teams from Central and North India.

 

In a message sent to the people in the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), Aruna Roy, a senior activist associated with the Mazdoor Kisan Sakti Sanghathan, Rajasthan stated: “If distances were short, I would be with you for both these days to celebrate your extraordinary courage & determination in fighting a very difficult battle with the state for democracy. For my democratic rights as well as yours! And for establishing that people have a right to decide what kind of development they should have…”

 

Dignitaries like Adv. Prashant Bhushan, Mallika Sarabhai, Xavier Dias, Kamla Bhasin, Praful Bidwai, Nikhil De, Ambai, Gabriela Dietrich, Prafulla Samantara, Lalitha Ramdas, Ajitha George, Bishop Geevarghese Coorilos Nalunnakkal, CR Neelakandan, Sr. Celia, Abhay Sahoo, Vilayodi Venugopal, Prof. Niveditha Menon, Ashok Choudhary, Laha Gopalan, some political leaders and others have expressed their solidarity with the event. More than seventy groups from across the country are expected to join their Kudankulam hosts in taking forward the struggles against destructive development paradigm.

 

For details contact: Magline (09495531555), Bhargavi (09999563950) & Lakshmi (09791009160)

 

Roselyn: Idinthakarai activist, anti nuke protester – a victim of Neglect #RIP


A photograph of Roselyn taken on the day of her arrest by Amirtharaj Stephen photograph.

63-year old J. Roselyn, a mother of three from Idinthakarai, was among the 7 women randomly picked up from the Idinthakarai beach on the police crackdown of 10 September 2012. She was jailed in Trichy Women’s prison along with Xavier Ammal, Sundari and Selvi. Even at the time of arrest, she had complained that she was extremely unwell and had been suffering frequent bouts of vomitting, and needed medical attention and diagnosis. These facts were even registered in her records prior to her detention in Trichy prison.

She was not given adequate treatment in the prison hospital, and her requests for medical attention went unheeded.  When bail was granted for the case she was arrested under, the police filed two more cases and prolonged her stay in prison. She was finally released from prison on 30 October, 2012, on condition that she signs her presence at a police station in Madurai. As her condition worsened, it became impossible for her to visit the police station, and she was hospitalised in the Madurai General Hospital.

About 10 days ago, she was moved to Idinthakarai where she died early this morning on Dec 21, 2012 . Mugilan, who informed me about Roslin Amma’s demise said she had a cancer-like ailment, which had already manifested itself before the 10 September protests.

Roslin is a victim of neglect, and the vengeance of a state that views the very holding of a contrary opinion on nuclear power as a crime warranting imprisonment under harsh sections. 63-year old Roslin was accused and jailed under the following sections, including of “Waging War against the Government of India.”

1. Crl OP 15368, Crime No. 70/2012. Offence date: 16.2.2012
Charges: 121 — Waging War. 142, 163,152(a), 241, 242, 500, 508

2. Crl OP 15385, Crime No. 300/2012. Date of Offence: 11.6.2012
Charges: 124A — Sedition. 142, 168, 291

3. Crl OP 15389/2012, Crime No. 349/2012.. Date of Offence: 10.9.2012
147, 145, 163 r/w 144, 222, 252, 255, 294(b), 207, 427 r/w 149

The Koodankulam Struggle: Why We Fight #nuclear


 

By S. P. Udayakumar

18 December, 2012
Countercurrents.org

We have been fighting against the Koodankulam Nuclear power Project (KKNPP) since the late 1980s. This Russian project was shelved right after the Soviet Union’s collapse and taken up again in 1997. The Indian government and Russians have constructed two huge reactors of 1000 MW each without any consent of or consultation with the local people. We have just obtained the outdated Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report after 23 years of long and hard struggle. The Indian nuclear authorities have not shared any basic information about the project with the public. They do not give complete and truthful answers for our questions on the ‘daily routine emissions’ from these reactors, the amount and management of nuclear waste, fresh water needs, impact of the coolant water on our sea and seafood, decommissioning costs and effects, Russian liability and so forth. We are deeply disturbed by all this.

Our people watched the Fukushima accident of March 11, 2011 on TV at their homes and understood the magnitude and repercussions of a nuclear accident. Right after that on July 1, 2011, the KKNPP announced the ‘hot run’ of the first reactor that made so much noise and smoke. Furthermore, the authorities asked the people, in a mock drill notice, to cover their nose and mouth and run for their life in case of an emergency. As a result of all these, our people in Koodankulam and Idinthakarai villages made up their minds and took to the streets on their own on August 11, 2011. Then we all together decided to host a day-long hunger strike on August 16 at Idinthakarai and a three-day fast on August 17-19 at Koodankulam. On the 17th itself authorities invited us for talks and asked us to postpone our struggle to the first week of September because of the upcoming Hindu and Muslim festivals. In a few days’ time, the chief of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) announced that the first reactor would go critical in September 2011.

So we embarked upon an indefinite hunger strike on September 11, 2011 and our women blocked a state road on September 13 for a few hours when the state and central governments continued to ignore us. The state Chief Minister invited us for talks on September 21 and passed a cabinet resolution the next day asking the central government to halt all the work until the fears and concerns of the local people were allayed. We ended our hunger strike on the 22nd but went on another round of indefinite hunger strike from October 9 to 16 when the talks with the Indian Prime Minister failed. We laid siege in front of the KKNPP on October 13-16, 2011 when the KKNPP authorities did not halt work at the site as per the Tamil Nadu state cabinet resolution. We ended both the indefinite hunger strike and the siege on October 16 in order for our people to participate in the local body elections on the 17th. From October 18, 2011, we have been on a relay hunger strike continuously (480th day today). We have been carrying out massive rallies, village campaigns, public meetings, seminars, conferences, and other demonstrations such as shaving our heads, cooking on the street, burning the models of the nuclear plants etc. This struggle has been going on since September 2011 and the morale of the people is still very high.

There is no foreign country or agency or money involved in this classic people’s struggle to defend our right to life and livelihood. Our fishermen, farmers, workers and women make small voluntary donations in cash and kind to sustain our simple Gandhian struggle. Our needs are very few and expenses much less. We only provide safe drinking water to the hunger strikers and visitors. People from all over Tamil Nadu (and sometimes from other parts of India) come on their own arranging their own transportation. For our own occasional travel, we hire local taxis.

Instead of understanding the people’s genuine feelings and fulfilling our demands, the central and state governments have foisted serious cases of ‘sedition’ and ‘waging war on the Indian state’ on the leaders of our movement. There are as many as 350 cases on us. There have been police harassment, intelligence officers’ stalking, concocted news reports in the pro-government media, abuse of our family members, hate mail, death threats, police-supported vandalism on our properties and even physical attack.

Although India is a democracy, our central government has been keen on safeguarding the interests of the MNCs and pleasing some powerful countries such as the United States, Russia, France etc. The welfare of the ‘ordinary citizens’ of India does not figure on their list of priorities. The central government and the ruling Congress party stand by the secretive nuclear agreements they have made with all different countries and consider us as stumbling blocks on their road to disastrous development. The main opposition party, Bharatiya Janata Party (Hindu nationalist party) is interested in the nuclear weapons program and making India a superpower and hence loves everything nuclear. It is ironic that these two corrupt and communal forces join hands with each other against their own people. They bend backwards to please their American and other bosses but question our integrity and nationalist credentials.

Our leaders and the group of 15 women were physically attacked on January 31, 2012 at Tirunelveli by the Congress thugs and Hindutva Fascists when we had gone for talks with the central government expert team. Then the Tamil Nadu government set up a four-member expert panel with a sitting member of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) to probe the Koodankulam issue. Having received their secret report, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Ms. J. Jayalalitha, invited us for a brief meeting on February 29, 2012. As soon as the polling at the Sankarankovil state assembly bye-election (in Tirunelveli district) was over on March 18, 2012, the Tamil Nadu government changed its wishy-washy stand on KKNPP and began to support it overtly. It also came down so heavily on us by arresting hundreds of our people and restraining thousands of us in our own respective villages.

Several rounds of indefinite hunger strikes and various campaigns made little impact on the indifferent and anti-people governments in New Delhi and Chennai. When the DAE tried to load the fuel rods in the KKNPP-1 reactor, we had to react and we laid siege to the KKNPP at the back of it by the sea on September 9, 2012. The Tamil Nadu police broke up the unarmed, nonviolent and peaceful protesters with lathi charge, tear gas and gun fire. They killed one Mr. Anthony John at Manappad coastal village on that day. Our people still continued their valiant fight through hunger strike and nonviolent jal satyagraha. Another comrade of ours, Mr. Sahayam Francis of Idinthakarai village, was killed by the low-flying Coast Guard plane. On October 8, 2012 tens of thousands of fishermen from Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari and Thoothukudi districts laid siege to the KKNPP on the sea with their mechanized and fiber boats. With the help of our supporting political parties, we laid siege to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly building on October 29th.

Now the Tamil Nadu government cuts electricity supply so often and so indiscriminately in order to drive home the message that nuclear power plant is badly needed for steady power supply. The central government refuses to support the Tamil Nadu government with the various power augmentation projects and schemes. They together conspire to create anger and opposition among the public against our anti-nuclear struggle. But this devious strategy has backfired on them badly. Most people in Tamil Nadu are able to see through their treacherous scheme. And we have been receiving a lot of support and solidarity from various groups in Kerala and even from other states of India.

To put it all in a nutshell, this is a classic David-Goliath fight between the ‘ordinary citizens’ of India and the powerful Indian government supported by the rich Indian capitalists, MNCs, imperial powers and the global nuclear mafia. They promise FDI, nuclear power, development, atom bombs, security and superpower status. We demand risk-free electricity, disease-free life, unpolluted natural resources, sustainable development and harmless future. They say the Russian nuclear power plants are safe and can withstand earthquakes and tsunamis. But we worry about their side-effects and after-effects. They speak for their scientist friends and business partners and have their eyes on commissions and kickbacks. But we fight for our children and grandchildren, our progeny, our animals and birds, our land, water, sea, air and the skies.

Please keep us on your prayers/meditations/thoughts/conversations and keep an eye on the developments here in the southernmost tip of India. You can write to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Ms. J. Jayalalitha asking her to stop this deadly nuclear project. You could also write to our Prime Minister, Mr. Manmohan Singh, not to drag India in the opposite direction when the whole world is going the ‘beyond thermal and nuclear’ route. Let us all resolve together to create a Nuclear-Free World for our children and the successive generations.|

S P Udayakumar, Coordinator, People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, spearheading the movement in Koodankulam

 

 

 

Invite to Kudankulam to Celebrate the New Year 2013!


newyear

 

Dear friends/comrades,

 

We invite you join us in celebrating the arrival of the New Year 2013 at the coastal hamlets of Kudankulam, Tamilnadu.

The men, women and children fighting against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant have caught the attention of the entire nation. Even while the Central and State governments are using their concerted powers to squash all opposition, the people’s struggle, led by PMANE (People’s Movement against Nuclear Energy), remain resolute to protect the present and future generations from the negative impacts of radiation. And this, they are doing by staking their very lives! The fisher people, farmers, traders and others in Kudankulam continue to organise boat protests, blockades outside the plant, rallies, and public meetings.

Keeping aside the debate around nuclear power, the people’s resistance and their unrelenting spirit ought to be celebrated– for their collective capacity to continue their peaceful struggle. Let all of us who believe in the struggle of the Kudankulam people come together to assert our freedoms, reclaim democracy, and celebrate the spirit of resistance.

We invite you to three days of conversations, songs, dance, music, poetry, films and more at Idinthakarai, Kudankulam from 30 December 2012 to 1 January 2013. Please find beneath the invite/call for the programme!

ENDORSE THE CALL. PASS THE WORD AROUND. JOIN US AT KUDANKULAM. CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS THE EXPENSES (We don’t need ‘foreign’ funds, we need yours!!! )

We look forward to celebrating the arrival of the New Year with you @ Kudankulam.

For programme related queries, confirmations, etc please contact:

 

Bhargavi: 09999563950/ 011 26680914/26687724; bhargavi@delhiforum.net

 

Nityanand Jayaraman: 09444082401; nity682@gmail.com

 

T Peter: 09447429243; peter.ksmtf@gmail.com 

In solidarity,

Vijayan MJ

 Celebrating the New Year-2013 @ Kudankulam  

Three days of conversations, songs, dance, music, poetry, films

and more at Idinthakarai, Kudankulam 

30 December 2012 to 01 January 2013

 ASSERTING FREEDOM; CELEBRATING RESISTANCE

“I want to go to Kudankulam on 01.01.2013 to be with the fisherfolk as well as the common people who are resisting the proposed nuclear power plant; a danger for the sea, the sand and the people… In fact the total environment will be threatened when nuclear power plant comes. The humanity, marine and animal life will be destroyed… I hope that Kudankulam, the very name, will set an example before Indian citizens and lead us towards the victory of humanity.”

Mahashweta Devi

 

An alternative world is emerging from the grassroots- through social movements and people’s resistance, through the power of ideas and practice. This emergence is always there though the scale of social movements and people’s resistance varies. It expands and contracts, it fragments and converges, and it goes through defeats and reorganising. Yet over a historical time it grows silently, incrementally and unevenly in many streams, in many movements and organisations, and erupts decisively through their confluence in revolutions.

People get drawn in by various motivations, interests and persuasions. At the core of all social movements and people’s resistance are always communities of activists, who carry a simple truth: the human capacity to change. This shared belief is fundamental, to be retained and nurtured through a sense of belonging.

There is always a frontline from where the power of domination and the state is confronted and struggled with to make way for social and political change; where people inspire, make sacrifices, families suffer and individuals are tested for their commitment.

The resistance at Kudankulam is one such frontline. We have to stand with them from everywhere. We can also be with them as they face suffering, loss and pain. As communities of activists, we can gift them with the power of belonging and the strength of our solidarity. All of us carry traditions of cultural and political celebration – a moment when differences remain subdued and belongings become pronounced. In bringing together the New Year celebration with a people’s movement at the frontlines, we make the personal political, celebration a form of protest, and belonging deeper and broader.

We invite you to three days of conversations, song, dance, music, poetry, films and more to stand in solidarity with the people in Idinthakarai, Kudankulam from 30 December 2012 to 1 January 2013. We look forward to celebrating the arrival of the New Year with you.

With best wishes and solidarity

Organising Collective for New Year @ Kudankulam

CHENNAI SOLIDARITY FOR KUDANKULAM | DELHI SOLIDARITY GROUP | KERALA SOLIDARITY FOR KUDANKULAM | PEOPLE’S MOVEMENT AGAINST NUCLEAR ENERGY

 

For more details contact Organising Collective for New Year @ Kudankulam

Bhargavi: 09999563950/ 011 26680914/26687724; bhargavi@delhiforum.net

Nityanand Jayaraman: 09444082401; nity682@gmail.com

T Peter: 09447429243; peter.ksmtf@gmail.com
Vijayan MJ
General Secretary
Programme for Social Action (PSA)
Address: H-17/1 (Basement), Malviya Nagar,
New Delhi INDIA – 110017
Phones: + 91-11-26687725 (Direct), 26671556 / +91-9582862682 (Mobile)
Emails: vijayan@psa-india.netgs@psa-india.net
Web: http://psa-india.net