Mumbai Killer Trains -805 commuters dead in 3 months


Published: Wednesday, May 9, 2012,
By Rajendra Aklekar | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

A national spotlight isn’t enough to reverse a trend. Case in point: deaths on the Mumbai suburban railway. The latest data released by the city’s railway police commissionerate reveal that 805 commuters died and 867 others were injured in the first three months this year.

“It is a shame. Despite much noise over them, deaths on tracks show no signs of a decline. This is an emergency situation and the authorities — both local and national — need to look into this urgently. We cannot accept so many deaths taking place during travel,” said Madhu Kotian, member, Zonal Railway Users’ Consultative Committee, the official railway-passenger grievances body.

Data collated from January to March this year show that, 512 commuters died and 518 others were injured on the Central Railway (CR) line, and 293 died and 349 were injured on the Western Railway line. Most of those who died were trespassers crossing tracks, closely followed by those who fell off trains. Last year, 3,458 commuters died and 4,164 were injured in train accidents in the city.

A Right to Information query filed earlier this year had revealed that nearly 40,000 commuters had died and an equal number were injured over the last decade.

A transport upgrade project to improve and increase the number of trains in the city was recently launched to deal with overcrowding. Recent figures show that crowds in locals have thinned down — but just marginally.

Railway officials said they are doing everything possible to cut down death rates — from increasing the height of platforms to putting up fences. Taking cognisance of the large number of deaths caused by trespassing, the CR has promised a network of skywalks to criss-cross rail lines to provide a permanent solution to the issue.

After activist Samir Zaveri, who lost his legs in a train accident near Borivli about two decades ago, approached the court in 2008 demanding better medical facilities at stations, the railways were forced to provide ambulances outside stations and to upgrade medical facilities there. The railways have also set up a first-aid room at Dadar.

High Noon in Koodankulam– As the World Awakes, India Sleepwalks Into Nuclear Peril


Anti nuclear power movement's Smiling Sun logo...

Anti nuclear power movement’s Smiling Sun logo “Nuclear Power? No Thanks” Deutsch: Die Lachende Sonne der Anti-Atomkraftbewegung (“Atomkraft? Nein Danke!”) mit englischem Text Dansk: Solmærket (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


by NIRANJAN RAMAKRISHNAN

Many countries are rethinking their nuclear plans post-Fukushima.  Some are proceeding to draw down their nuclear power operations.  According to an AP report,

“Germany…turned decisively against nuclear power after the Fukushima crisis, shutting down eight reactors and planning to close the remaining nine nuclear power plants by 2022.”

Last June in the wake of the Japanese disaster, Italians held a referendum and rejected nuclear energy for their country, leading then Prime Minister Berlusconi to concede that his country would have to bid “addio” to nuclear power.

Having known nuclear devastation up close, first during wartime in 1945, and then in peacetime last year upon seeing the writing on the tsunami wall, Japan has acted with alacrity, From the same AP report,

“Japan will be free of atomic power for the first time since 1966 on Saturday, when the last of its 50 usable reactors is switched off for regular inspections. The central government would like to restart them at some point, but it is running into strong opposition from local citizens and governments.”

As Harvey Wasserman writes in CounterPunch, the recent election may hasten France’s move away from nuclear energy,

“And France has replaced a vehemently pro-nuclear premier with the Socialist Francois Hollande, who will almost certainly build no new reactors.  For decades France has been the “poster child” of atomic power.  But Hollande is likely to follow the major shift in French national opinion away from nuclear power and toward the kind of green-powered transition now redefining German energy supply.”

Wasserman’s article also declares that the chances of the United States building any new reactors are slim to none – the price tag of around $10 billion a reactor puts it at a decided disadvantage compared to  – renewable energy!

Following Fukushima, China is engrossed in a bottom-to-top reevaluation of its nuclear energy strategy.

Thus is there a pensive re-examination of faith even among fervent believers in nuclear power.  Theoretical argument is one thing; the sight of one of the world’s most efficient and advanced populations struggling to cope with a nuclear emergency gives an entirely different aspect to the matter.  The slightest chance that huge centers of population might not just be devastated, but rendered unlivable for hundreds of years, alters the mental odds-making completely, as well it should.

This is the setting in which an establishment high on the  ‘development’ narcotic and tantalized by the apsara of growth rate has decided to commit India to building no less than 30 new nuclear reactors in the next 20 years.

Deeming the Fukushima meltdowns no deterrent to their previous plans, the Indian government and its agencies have tried to downplay fears about nuclear power in general, and those concerning the Koodankulam nuclear plant in particular. The plant, located right on the ocean at the country’s southern tip, bears a certain situational resemblance to Fukushima.

Widespread misgivings about safety and health issues have been sought to be pooh-poohed by trotting out an army of ‘experts’, led by former missile scientist and ex-president APJ Abdul Kalam, best known for his well-publicized ardor for turning India into a ‘developed’ country by year 2020, read, an endorsement of every grandiose scheme to take Indians as quickly as possible into the top ranks of the world’s consumers.

But, Koodankulam’s residents and their neighbors have begged to differ with the authorities.  Their movement (there have been local agitations against the Koodankulam plant long before Fukushima), which the government has tried to ignore, belittle, slander and disrupt, is now engaged in a peaceful protest that has caught the attention of the world.  According to PMANE (People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy), some 9000 people are engaged in a sit in, with several hundred on an indefinite fast.  PMANE is now starting a ‘Respect India‘ campaign along the lines of Gandhi’s ‘Quit India’ movement of 1942. A line from their crisp  indictment of India’s development mania says it all,  ”As a result of our ruling class’s nuclear madness, our land, water, air, sea, sea life, sea food and food security will all become spoiled and poisoned.”

It is noteworthy that the anti-nuclear struggle has no backing from major political parties, handmaidens all to a development ideology run amok, unhinged from any concern but economic growth rate.

READ MORE AT COUNTERPUNCH

T.N. ups vigil as anti-Kudankulam activists threaten to intensify stir


A view of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tirunelveli district. File photo
The Hindu–A view of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tirunelveli district. File photo
 PTI, mAY 9, 2012

Authorities on Wednesday extended prohibitory orders and beefed up security in and around the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant as anti-nuclear activists threatened to intensify their stir against the Indo-Russian project from Thursday.

The district administration has extended the prohibitory orders from 2 km to 5 km radius of the plant since Wednesday morning.

Besides, 11 companies of Tamil Nadu Special Police and Tamil Nadu Armed Police have been deployed, in addition to the existing force in the area.

The police action followed information that People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), which is spearheading the protest against the nuclear plant, was planning to intensify its stir from Thursday, since the State government did not respond to its demand for talks.

“It has been nine days now and the state government has not responded to our hunger-strike. So, we have called our supporters from five villages and would have a meeting to decide further course of action tomorrow,” PMANE activist M. Pushparayan said.

The activists’ move comes against the backdrop of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s assertion that the plant would go critical in the next 10 days and power generation would begin then.

Keywords: Anti-nuclear protests,

Urgent call for action- Idinthakari , Anti Nuke protesters under Threat


Dear all:
It is difficult to get reliable news. The folks in Idinthakarai are in a virtual prison, and cannot go out to verify. Our friends from Tirunelveli suggest that 10 companies, or 2000 police, are posted in and around Idinthakarai. That is roughly four police for every woman fasting to since May 4 to be heard. The fear is that the police will attempt to arrest Udayakumar and Pushparayan tonight. But when Prashant Bhushan spoke to DIG Varadarajulu, he said that the 2000 people were posted as a precautionary measure, and that they have no intent to move into the village. That is a bit difficult to believe. At the very least, this is war talk. Why do they need 2000 armed men to contain 500 women fasting non-violently?

If the police contingent moves in to the village, the villagers will not keep quiet. We hope that things don’t get ugly.

Please call the Police and advise them against precipitate action.

The villagers are interested in dialogue, and the police should work towards that:

Call:
Bidari, Superintendent of Police:             9940193494
Varadarajulu. Deputy Inspector General of Police:            9840970530

via- nitty

India: Irom Sharmila fast in Ripley’s Believe It or Not


  • BBC NEWS
  • Ms Chanu is force-fed through her nose
  • An Indian woman who has spent nearly

    12 years fasting to protest against a law that gives special powers to the armed forces has been featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

Irom Sharmila Chanu, 40, has been on a hunger strike since 2 November 2000 in the north-eastern state of Manipur.

She has been force-fed through a pipe in her nose since November 2000.

Ripley’s site features a cartoon on the activist and describes her as “the iron lady of Manipur”.

Ms Chanu has repeatedly rejected requests to call off her fast until the government withdraws the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

The act gives sweeping powers to the armed forces when they fight separatist insurgents or leftist radicals – powers which critics say are often misused.

‘Iconic’Kshetrimayum Onil, a trustee of Just Peace Foundation, a non-governmental organisation based in the state capital, Imphal, told the BBC that he sent an e-mail to Ripley’s site about Ms Chanu’s struggle in mid-March.

“Lucas Stram, one of the researchers from the Ripley’s team, sent me a link to the cartoon page a few days back,” Mr Onil said.

Ms Chanu’s years of fasting have made her into an iconic figure in Manipur.

The state has a population of about 2.5 million people and a huge force of army, paramilitary and state police. They have been fighting at least 12 insurgent groups since 1980.

The government and the army maintain that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act is necessary to restore normality in the state.

But civil society groups allege gross human rights violations by troops and policemen.

Ms Chanu’s hunger strike started after soldiers of the Assam Rifles paramilitary force allegedly killed 10 young Manipuri men in November 2000.

She has been arrested many times and taken to hospital where she has been force-fed a liquid diet through her nose in a bid to keep her alive.

Dil Se Nahin Dimaag Se Dekho – Thoughts on Satyamev Jayate


 ,  

Guest post by SHOHINI GHOSH

 

The first episode of Aamir Khan’s much publicized TV show Satyamev Jayate telecast on May 6, 2012 dealt with “Female Foeticide”. The following is a reflection of the show’s line of reasoning. Since only one out of 13 episodes has been telecast, what follows should not be taken as a judgement on the series but a response to the first episode. For reasons that I will explain later, I will use the term Sex-Selective Abortions (hereafter SSA) instead of `Female Foeticide’.

 

Satyamev Jayate (hereafter, SJ) takes inspiration from the format of the Oprah Winfrey show. In this format the celebrity host is as important as the issues being discussed and the issues of “human interest” are narrated through a number of `affective’ tropes that include cathartic revelations, shocking testimonies, interviews with experts, cutaways of shocked or tearful studio audiences and a host who is both emotive and inspirational. The show’s attempt to mobilize affect is reflected in its many promos and tag-line that reads:  “Dil Peh Lagegi, Tabhi Baat Banegi.”  Shows with such formats usually end on a feel-good note where a “solution” to the problem is proffered.

In SJ, the “solution” is the “jaadu ki chhadi” (magic wand) which the host explains is the collective strength of “me” and “you”. The episode ends with Aamir Khan (hereafter, AK) promising to write a letter to the Chief Minister of Rajasthan on behalf of all of us demanding strict action against doctors who practice sex-selective tests and procedures.

Unlike most talk shows on TV, SJ has high production values. Despite a certain preachy sanctimoniousness reminiscent of his role in Taare Zameen par, AK is a respectful and competent host who helps to keep the conversations on track without being rude or abrupt. On the first episode, he speaks to three women who provide moving testimonies of how they were forced to undertake sex-determination tests and sex-selective abortions against their will. The testimonies show how sex-selection and son-preference is not a problem that plagues the rural backwaters as is commonly assumed but prevails within the educated middle class. AK punctuates the conversation with `useful’ information. For example, he rightly points out that the sex of the child is determined by the sperm of the father and not the egg of the mother. There was an important intervention made by a lawyer representing one of the three women who describes how the judge declared that there was nothing wrong in desiring a “kuldeepak” (the son who will carry forward the lineage) and upbraided the policeman who had dared to arrest the in-laws who had forced the woman to undergo forced SSA. The show included interviews with a reputed gynecologist as well as two journalists who had carried out a sting operation on doctors in Rajasthan who were carrying out SSA’s.

On the surface, the show is “pro-women” but as the arguments unravel, it becomes increasingly evident that “all is not well’. Let me explain. In describing the “consequences” of a skewed, women-unfriendly sex-ratio, AK takes us (through Airtel “3G link”) to Kurukshetra, Haryana where in one village women have practically disappeared. AK speaks to a group of men who claim that they are unmarried because SSA’s using “ultrasound” had ensured that there were no women in the village. Earlier in the show AK had linked the declining sex-ratio to SSA and the Kurukshetra example was being produced as a perfect example. Even if we were to set aside our skepticism about this easy explanation, what follows’ is worse. Back in the studio, AK extrapolates from this example to expound on a simplistic and dangerously flawed prognosis according to which the shortage of women will result in “two crore men” remaining “unmarried” thereby creating a “shaadi ka bazaar” (marriage market) with buyers, sellers and “dalaals” where women will be bought and sold like commodities only to have unbelievable atrocities visited upon them.

This idea is seconded by a member of the studio audience who says that the marriage market had already begun and that women in the all-men village had to face harassment from the “kunwara fauj” (army of singletons). (Of course, by now you are wondering who these women are since we were just told that there were none!) The other suggestion being made seemed to be that if (heterosexual) men were not provided partners in heterosexual matrimony, they would explode in a libidinous frenzy and commit atrocities on women! (Thanks to SJ, on those rare occasions that they are brought to the courtroom, sex-offenders could now take refuge in the “singlehood-made-me-do-it’ argument and ask for their sentences to be mitigated.) Another question is to ask is whether equal numbers create gender equality and prevent violence against women.  If yes, then how do we explain atrocities against women when the sex-ratio was better as recorded by say the 1961 census?

What falls by the wayside in the paradigm that AK proposes is a central tenet of women’s equality: her right to choose. If we believe in equality then the women born in Kurukshetra should have the right to decide when, who and where they want to marry. They cannot be burdened with the task of having to marry men in their village in order to maintain the sex-ratio and thereby prevent violence against women even if this thesis were true. At the risk of detonating the libidinous ire of the `kunwara’ fauj, it may be said that the women in Kurukshetra – like women everywhere – should have the right to decide what they want to do with their life and body and this includes their right to reject both heterosexuality and matrimony if they so desire.

By locating the declining sex ratio within a paradigm of `female foeticide’ and `violence against women’, SJ replays a problematic logic; one that links declining sex ratio to violence against women and the elimination of women through `female foeticide’ using the key act of abortion.

In India, the women’s right to abortion emerged not from feminist struggles but as a by-product of family planning policies. Abortion has been legal in India under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act since 1971.  Despite its default origins, it is an important right for women and all campaigns against SSA must ensure that a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy is never threatened. The Right to Abortion is vital for gender equality and there can be no doubt that women are safer when abortions are legal and their mental and physical well-being is not threatened by having to obtain unsafe and illegal abortions.  While SSA gets a high degree of publicity what is less publicized is how difficult safe abortion still is for large numbers of women.

The makers of SJ might argue that women’s right to abortion and forced SSA are not the same thing. Certainly they are not and the three cases presented in Episode 1 of SJ demonstrate that. But unfortunately, not all cases of SSA fall into this category. There are innumerable instances where, for a number of complicated reasons, women are complicit in choosing SSA which then muddies the demarcation between oppressive villains (husband/in-laws) and oppressed victims (wives). The reasons why a woman will opt for SSA can range from her own son-preference to a desire to survive safely in a hostile household. How women should be discouraged from sex-selective practices without jeopardizing her right to take decisions about her life and body, have long agonized Feminists. An important lesson that Feminist Activism has taught us is that the inevitable fallout of empowering women to take their own decisions may well result in her choosing a path that many of us would regard as anti-feminist or regressive.

“Pro-choice” Feminists (as Abortion Rights Activists call themselves) have always privileged the personhood of the mother over that of the foetus which they argue is a `potential person’ and not an “actual person”. The “Pro-life” Lobby (as right-wing, anti-abortionists call themselves) does just the reverse. By using terms like the “unborn child” and the “death of the girl child”, they privilege the personhood of the child over that of the mother. Similarly, the term “female foeticide” carries connotations of both personhood and murder through its association with words like homicide, matricide and regicide.

Read more at Kaafila

 

At Kudankulam, police intent not to uphold rule of law, but to crush dissenting voices’


By TWL Bureau
A fact finding team that visited Idinthakarai village, the epicentre of the people’s movement against Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP), has found the State cracking down on the peaceful agitation with its full might to “teach people a lesson for voicing their concern and challenging the Government.”
The team comprising senior journalist Sam Rajappa, Prof. Gladston Xavier, Advocate Porkodi, and PUCL activists, Mahadevan and Rajan, found that between 10.9.2011 and 23.12.2011, police had filed 107 FIRs against 55795 people and “others,” among whom 6800 have been charged with “sedition” and/ or “waging war against the State.”

The agitation against the nuclear plant continues in Kudankulam (Photos: Antony Kebiston Fernando)

The team also found that “since all main roads have been blocked, food supplies, milk and water had dwindled as has the reserve of fuel, oil and diesel.”

Shocked by the findings, the team which visited Idinthakarai and other areas in the vicinity of Kudankulam on the 30th and 31st of March 2012, observes that “the frequency and manner in which the Police have filed cases against peaceful protestors clearly exposes that the police’s intent never was to uphold the rule of law, but to crush any dissenting voices.”

Following is an Extract from the Report that captures the situation in Idinthakarai village:

On 19 March, 2012, the Tamilnadu Chief Minister (J Jayalalithaa) announced her decision to allow the commencement of work at the Koodankulam Nuclear plant. In anticipation of this decision, the police forces deployed for maintaining law and order during the SankaranKoil bye-election were re-deployed to the areas in and around Koodankulam.

Idinthakarai is a medium-sized fishing village, with a mixed Hindu-Roman Catholic fisher population, and a smaller proportion of other communities. Since August 2011, Idinthakarai has been the epicentre of the protest against the KKNPP.

In the seven months of agitation, members of KKNPP have been subject to numerous provocations, including being pelted with stones, harassed, and having their vehicles damaged.

By and large, the response of the protestors has been non-violent and democratic. Using established satyagraha tactics such as hunger strikes, dharnas and road blockades, they have managed to keep a struggle alive in the face of propagandist campaign by the Central Government and their paid scientists.

The protest site, which was encircled by more than 7000 armed men, including those from Central forces and the Coast Guard, until March 23, was occupied (at the time of writing) by more than 10,000 people of whom 946 were elderly people, and 1500 children, including 715 below the age of five.

Kuthenkuly is another village neighbouring Idinthakarai, which was also under a state of siege by the forces. This village has 553 primary school children, 198 children below age 5, and 462 elderly people.

Idinthakarai is totally dependent on outside sources for drinking water, medical facilities and fuel. Each day, nearly 50 tanker lorry loads of water are purchased at the rate of Rs. 2.50 per pot.

Since the time of the announcement by the Chief Minister, no tanker lorries were permitted to enter Idinthakarai. Since all main roads have been blocked, food supplies, milk and water had dwindled as has the reserve of fuel, oil and diesel.

Short supply of food, water and milk has put children to hardship

On 20th and 21st March, even the media (NDTV, Headlines Today and Puthiya Thalaimurai) was prevented access to the site, and this access was restored only after concerted public pressure was mounted.

Shopkeepers in nearby villages had been instructed to boycott Idinthakarai and Kuthenkuli villagers, and out of fear of reprisal, many of the shopkeepers were refusing to sell goods to Idinthakarai villagers.

It is learnt that road access to all coastal villages from Tiruchendur to Kuthenkuly had been blocked by the police, and that only coastal access was possible, and even that only to a limited extent.

Women form the bulk of the resistance at Idinthakarai. If the Government of Tamilnadu’s intent was to facilitate entry of technical personnel into the plant site, that has been accomplished, and there is no possibility of that being blocked given the overwhelming presence of armed people in the region.

Under these circumstances, the intimidating show of force by the police forces, and the embargo on essential commodities seems to be a means to teach people a lesson for voicing their concern and challenging the Governments.

Even as a Fact Finding Team was being constituted to look into the matter, public pressure resulted in the easing of the situation.

Movement of essential supplies was restored, although movement of people, particularly from the village to the outside world remains problematic as many villagers fear that they will be jailed under false pretexts if they ventured out.

Massive campaign against N-Plant launches, thousands to surrender Voter ID cards


NEWZFIRST
09 May 2012 12:05:15 PM IST

IDINTHAKARAI -People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) today launched three campaigns against the Koodankulam Nuclear power Plant that is being set up amid strong opposition of residents of the region and to uphold the citizens’ dignity that is being dishonored by governments.

Collection of signatures by villagers who oppose the nuclear plant and surrender of voter identity cards will be observed in 60 villages belonging to three neighboring districts while ‘respect India’ campaign will be observed throughout the country.

Explaining the objectives of the campaigns Mr. V Pushparayan, member of struggle committee told newzfirst.com, “There are two Indias today, the rich and powerful India whose life is deemed to be important and valuable; and the poor and powerless India whose life is condemned as unimportant and dispensable. The dirty ordinary Indians are forced to sacrifice their lives for the holy extraordinary Indians.”

“Until the governments understand and start respecting every citizens by words and actions we will carry on this awareness campaign by joining hands with likeminded people’s movements.  Just as the freedom fighters asked the colonial rulers to ‘Quit India,’ we, the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy fighters, request the corrupt and communal ruling class in India to ‘Respect India,’ respect the Indian citizens’ lives, rights and entitlements.”  he added.

Briefing about surrendering voter identity cards, he said, “We want to make Governments understand that these citizens are not mere voting machines, they too deserve respectful lives, rights and entitlements. Until the Governments respond positively to the genuine demands of people of this Koodankulam Nuclear Plant region, all the voters will surrender their voter cards voluntarily.”

“Signature campaign too will continue in these three districts for about a week, where all the villagers who do oppose the setting up of nuclear plant will sign the appeal and that will be the mandate against KKNPP in the courts.”  he elaborated.

 

About 20 thousand voter identity cards from nine villages – Idinthakarai, Thomaiyapuram, Perumanal, Kuduthalai, Vairavikinaru, Kuttapulli, Kuthankulli and Avaidaiyalpuram were collected today and will be surrendered to respective Tahsildars after completing collection at rest villages, according to Pushparayan.

While, 30 thousand people from thirteen villages of Idinthakarai, Kudankulam, Kuthankulli, Uvari, Kuttapulli, Kamaneri, Thomaiyarpuram, Vijayapathi, Vairavikinaru, Thillaivananthopu, Kurinjikulam, Kuduthalai, and Periyathalai have signed against the KKNPP.

READ FULLSTORY HERE

Immediate Release-STOP work at SHAI, SUSARI and KONDHANE DAMS


Press Release

 

IMMEDIATELY STOP WORK ON SHAI, SUSARI AND KONDHANE DAMS

 

We welcome the announcement of the Chief Minister that a White Paper will be prepared on the construction of Dams during the past ten years in Maharashtra.  We hope that this White Paper will assess the extent of corruption and diversion of public money that has plagued the Irrigation department. We also hope that the White Paper will look into the alleged nexus between the politicians, officials and contractors who have been awarded contracts in violation of the norms.  The White Paper needs to also examine whether the required permissions were obtained prior to construction, whether the stated objectives are being achieved and the status of rehabilitation of the project affected.

However, pending the release of the White Paper we demand an immediate stoppage of work on all dams (including Shai and Susari dams in Thane district and Kondhane dam in Raigad district) that are being illegally constructed without the required permissions.   Most of the dams ( more than 10 )  within the jurisdiction of the Konkan Irrigation Development Corporation have been awarded to a single firm, viz. F.A. Enterprises,  which is in violation of the Department’s own guidelines and conditions, thus exposing a strong nexus between the politicians, officials and the contractor.  Work has begun in violation of laws including the Forest Rights Act, The Forest Conservation Act, the Land Acquisiton Act, the Panchayats Extension to the Scheduled Areas Act etc. The Mumbai High Court has already stayed work on the Kalu Dam as it had started without clearance from  MoEF.

We therefore additionally demand that a High Level Inquiry Committee ( headed by a Retired High Court Judge ) be immediately appointed to inquire into the allegations of corruption and violation of laws and procedures into all the dams in the KIDC region, and more specifically those that have been awarded to F.A. Enterprises.

 

 

We reiterate our strong opposition to the Shai, Susari, Kalu, Balganga and Kondhane dams and demand that the police protection that has been provided to the contractor for constructing an illegal dam be immediately removed.

 

Shai Dharan Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti

Susari Dharan Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti

Kalu Dharan Virodhi Samiti

Shramik Mukti Sanghatna

Kashtakari Sanghatna

Shoshit Jan Andolan

Samajwadi Jan Parishad

Jagatikikaran Virodhi Kruti Samiti

 

 

Date : 9.5.2012

Immediate Release-Curfew orders Clamped, Arrest Alert # Koodankulam


Urgent Message from Idinthakarai

Arrest Alert
May 9, 2012
Curfew orders have just been promulgated in our area once again right after our planning meetings with the youth, women, community elders and the Idinthakarai village committee on May 8, 2012. Thousands of police personnel are being posted in and around Koodankulam in haste. We get reliable tips that the authorities are planning to clamp down our protest and arrest all of us, possibly tonight. Such a pre-dawn operation that the government usually does could be bloody as thousands of men, women and children from several villages are sleeping around the Church at Idinthakarai.
This action may be planned to cover up a recent accident at the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP). It is said that two young men, Sivakumar and Esakkimuthu, were injured on May 4 in an alleged blast at KKNPP and they were admitted in a private hospital at Anjugramam. Dr. Tamilarasu who treated the men confirmed the accident according to a newspaper report (The Indian Express, May 8, 2012). One of the young men’s fathers talked to the Puthiya Thalaimurai television on May 8, 2012 that he was not even allowed to see his son.
On May 8, 2012, we also held a Press Meet at Idinthakarai at 4:00 PM in which we produced the ledgers with tens of thousands of signatures of people from some 60 villages opposing the KKNPP. This is a clear proof that the central and state governments are acting against the will of the local people and are thrusting the dangerous nuclear power project down our throats in an authoritarian and arrogant manner. We also produced some 24,000 voter ID cards that the people had surrendered in protest against the governments’ callous attitude towards the 302 women and 35 men indefinite hunger strikers. As the Indian government and the state governments do not respect ordinary people’s lives and interests in India, we also launched the “Respect India” Campaign along the lines of Mahatma Gandhi’s “Quit India” campaign of 1942.
The Tamil Nadu police have been harassing local people when they close their shops in support of our protests or when they travel to neighboring villages. The police take individual pot shots of the people, shoot group photos, take down the vehicle numbers, abuse with foul language and intimidate them. When a curfew was imposed earlier on our area by the Tamil Nadu government on March 19, 2012, the authorities divided the local communities by announcing a Rs. 500 crore bribery package to the local bodies, stifled news reports on us by silencing the media and isolated the people by distancing the Church.
It is so strange and unfortunate that the central and state governments treat us, nonviolent and democratic Gandhian activists, as some kind of dangerous extremists. The hunger strikers are very weak and feeble but they refuse to give up without getting our demands fulfilled. Instead of talking to us, the Tamil Nadu government seems to be preparing for a highhanded behavior and violence to put us all down.
Please contact the following officers and demand justice for our people:
[1] Dr. R. Selvaraj, District Collector, Tirunelveli District, Tirunelveli. Phone:             91-462-2500828      ; Fax: 91-462-2500224; Mobile: 91-9444185000; Email:collrtnv@nic.in
[2] Mr. V. Varadharaju; Phone:             91-462-2568031      ; Mobile: 91-9840970530; Email: digtinrg@yahoo.co.in
[3] Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Fort St. George, Chennai 600 009, India; Phones:             91-44-25672345      (W);             91-44-25670215       (H); Faxes:             91-44-28133510      ; 25676929; 25671441; 28130787.
[4] Mr. Debendranath Sarangi, Chief Secretary; Phone:             91-44-25671555      ; Fax: 91-44-25672304; Email: cs@tn.gov.in
[5] Dr. Sheela Priya, Additional Chief Secretary; Phone:             91-44-25674234      ; Fax: 91-44-25675163. Email: cmcell@tn.gov.in
The Struggle Committee,
People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy

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