APPEAL: Kudankulam Chalo! Let Us All March To Kudankulam!!
Join the National Yatra to Kudankulam, March 15-16, 2012
Appeal issued on behalf of Admiral Ramdas, Lalita Ramdas, Praful Bidwai, Prof. Banwarilal Sharma, Fr. Thomas Kocherry, Justice Kolse Patil, Vaishali Patil, Sunil, Soumya Dutta, Anil Choudhary, P. K. Sundaram, Sajeer Rehman, Musab Iqbal, Neeraj Jain, and many others
The government of India has launched a most vicious propaganda campaign to malign the heroic struggle of the people of the southern Tamil Nadu who are fighting the Kudankulam Nuclear Plant. The people of the region had been opposing the plant since the late 1980s; the Fukushima nuclear accident of March 2011 greatly increased their concerns and they intensified their agitation demanding that the plant be shut down and the government focus on conservation of energy and renewable forms of energy to meet the energy needs of the country.
Since October 2011, the people of the region have been sitting on a relay hunger strike, which has entered its sixth month now. Tens of thousands of people have participated in 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. It has been an entirely peaceful Gandhian agitation, of which even Mahatma Gandhi would have been proud.
Instead of paying heed to the people’s concerns and the concerns voiced by numerous intellectuals all over the country about the terrible dangers of nuclear energy – which have once again become highlighted after the deathly Fukushima accident in Japan, the government has launched a most despicable campaign to slander and terrorise the people of Idinthikarai and the surrounding villages, in order to break their will and prepare the grounds for repressive action. There is the possibility of a military-style crackdown in the offing. The slander campaign is being headed from the front by the Prime Minister himself, who announced to the media that India’s nuclear programme is being derailed by NGOs funded by the Americans. Next, an innocent and unsuspecting German tourist, Sonntag Rainer Hermann, was picked up from his budget hotel at midnight, and deported on suspicion that he was illegally diverting funds to the Koodankulam campaign. Hermann is a harmless backpacker, who had come to India a month ago from Bangkok, and like tens of thousands of Germans, is a nature lover, and has a healthy scepticism of nuclear energy. The media has most shamefully lapped up these allegations, without bothering to even make the most elementary efforts to verify them. The government has also filed hundreds of serious cases of ‘sedition’ and ‘waging war on the Indian state’ on the leaders of the movement.
In a stirring letter to the people of the country, the leaders of the agitation write: ‘To put it 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.”
APPEAL: Kudankulam Chalo! Let Us All March To Kudankulam!!
On behalf of CNDP (Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace) and NAAM (National Alliance of Anti-Nuclear Movements), we had organised a two day National Consultation in Delhi on February 25-26, wherein it was resolved that all of us should go for a two-day visit to Kudankulam and Chennai to express solidarity with the fighting people of Idinthikarai and the surrounding areas in their agitation agaisnt the Kudankulam Nuclear Plant.
The struggle of the people of this region has reached a crucial turning point. With work on the plant stalled, and the ‘real foreign hand’ of the Russians breathing down the government’s neck, the government is desperate to use every trick and weapon in its book to crush the movement. At such a crucial juncture, it is important for all of us, who stand for genuine democracy, for people-centred sustainable development, for a strong India which does not lick the boots of imperial powers, to go to Kudankulam and express our solidarity for their struggle, to express our disgust with the tricks resorted to by India’s rulers to malign a heroic people’s movement, and demand that the government stop using slanderous and repressive tactics to gag discussions on nuclear or any other ‘development’ issues and instead adopt a consultative approach with people of the region, to resolve their issues and concerns.
We call upon all of you to join us for this two day visit to Kudankulam. The program is:
March 15: Reach Kudankulam by the afternoon, 2 pm or so. Address a public meeting there.
March 15 night: Travel to Chennai by train.
March 16: Chennai – address a Seminar and a Press Conference.
You can reach Kudankulam by flying down to Trivandrum or Madurai, and then driving down to Kudankulam. Since there will be many of us, we can coordinate and take a common vehicle, which we shall arrange. So do let us know where you plan to come, and we will do the coordination. Trivandrum is more well connected by air, so that might be more convenient.
Or you can come by train, via Chennai or Bangalore, to Kanyakumari/Nagercoil.
Do let us know if you can join us, and we will then see how to coordinate amongst all those who are coming. Please feel free to contact any of the following for more details:
P K Sundaram, New Delhi (9810556134, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lalita Ramdas (email@example.com)
Neeraj Jain, Pune (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sajeer Rehman, Calicut (email@example.com)
Musab Iqbal, Bangalore (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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