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)
- Invite to Kudankulam to Celebrate the New Year 2013! (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- At Kudankulam’s core is fear, and anger (kractivist.wordpress.com)