10 October 2012 (12 noon onwards) Jantar Mantar
Thousands of people of Idinthakarai and other villages are waging a brave struggle against the Koodankulam nuclear power plant, in the face of severe repression unleashed by the Central and State Governments.
At Fukushima in Japan, the entire world saw the horrors that a disaster in a nuclear power plant could wreak. The protestors at Koodankulam are seeking to avert a repeat of Fukushima in India. Post-Fukushima, several countries are rethinking their nuclear energy projects. But India is intent on bailing out the global nuclear industry, and is peddling lies to Indians and muzzling protests, in order to do so.
Manmohan Singh insists that the Koodankulam plant is safe.
- · If indeed is the plant safe, why has Russia’s liability in case of a disaster been waived? If Russia is sure that its technology is safe and no disaster is possible, why does it want to avoid any responsibility in case of a disaster?!
- · Even existing safety norms recommended by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board have been violated at Koodankulam.
- · According to AERB’s own norms, there must be no population in the “exclusion zone” covering a 1.6km radius from the plant, and population in the 5km area around the plant must be under 20,000. At Koodankulam, a Tsunami Rehabilitation Colony stands less than 1km from the plant! And at least 40,000 people live within a 5km radius.
When the nuclear regulatory authorities and the Government so brazenly violate existing regulations and lie to the public, how can the protesting people be expected to have faith in their assurances of ‘safety’?
Moreover, why is the Government so intent on muzzling the democratic protest?
- · FIRs have been slapped on some 55,000 protestors
- · Charges of ‘sedition’ have been slapped on 8000 protestors
- · Protestors including women, children, and old people have been severely beaten by police
- · One man was killed in police firing and one died of shock when a Coast Guard plane flew low to terrorise the protestors
- · Women have been subjected to sexually abusive language and sexual violence
- · Leaders have been arrested; those who remain out of jail are virtual prisoners in the struggle villages
- The entire area has been turned into a police camp, with visitors prevented from meeting local people. Recently, 3 visitors from Japan were deported, and the CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya was recently detained by police on the outskirts of Idinthakarai when he sought to make a solidarity visit.
Worst of all, the protestors are being branded as ‘foreign-funded’ and there is an attempt to whip up a communal campaign against them. Not only the Congress Government at the Centre and the AIADMK Government in Tamil Nadu – the BJP and Sangh Parivar too are conducting this communal campaign, claiming that ‘Christian missionaries’ are fuelling the ‘anti-national’ protest.
The question at Koodankulam is not just one of ‘allaying fears’ of people. Nor is it an academic question of the merits and demerits of nuclear power, or the differences between nuclear plants set up before and after the Indo-US Nuke Deal. The key question is one of democracy: will people’s democratic protests be heard in India, or will they be suppressed by brute force? Do Indian citizens have a right to the truth and facts, or will our Governments get away with lying to us? Above all, can there be any ‘national interest’ that jeopardizes the lives of millions of people, while clearly benefiting foreign nuclear companies?
The All India Left Co-ordination (AILC) has called for a fortnight of protests all over the country in solidarity with people’s struggle against Koodankulam Nuclear Plant. We invite you to join a protest at Jantar Mantar on October 10, 2012 (Time: 12 noon onwards).
– Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation [CPI(ML)], Delhi State Committee.
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