Rumours on Kudan­kulam radiation leak trigger scare


Deccan Chronicle | AR. Meyyammai | 17th Feb 2013

MaduraiPanic gripped the fishing hamlets and other villages in the coastal districts of Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi and Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu and other seaside hamlets in Kerala since the midnight hours of Saturday following a bout of wild rumours on radiation leak from Kudan­kulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP).

Church bells tolled at intermittent hours since midnight and public address systems blared warnings asking the people to assemble at open spaces in their villages since mid night. Fear stricken fishermen and villagers with their families fled their houses half-awake and panicked.

Many, fraught with terror that they would be wiped out at one go if the radiation reached their villages, assembled at the common fast site at Idinthakarai village when the church bells tolled as warnings.

They made frantic calls in their mobiles to their friends and relatives who also rushed to the places to evacuate them. Many had left their villages in available trucks and vehicles to distant towns such as Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Kanya­kumari, Nagercoil and Kollam and Tiruvana­nt­hapuram in Kerala.

KNPP site director R.S.Sundar told Deccan Chronicle, “There is no radiation leak whatsoever. About 4000 people were inside the plant today. It is unfortunate that such rumours are being floated and people believe them.”

With the authorities pointing fingers at the anti-nuke activists for the rumours, People’s Mov­ement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) said conflicting statements from central ministers and plant officials had triggered the alarm among the fishermen. Sundar, however, reacting to the charges of technical faults in the plant, said, “We cannot say technically everything is alright.

Integrated checks on several components of the plant are being conducted and we are finetuning the testing process. It will take some more days for the tests to be completed after which the work would be audited by regulators.”

 

The entire village watched silently


The place inside the house of Govindaraju where Suvarna (inset) was forced to hang herself to death by her own father.

The place inside the house of Govindaraju where Suvarna (inset) was forced to hang herself to death by her own father.

January 14, 2012 By Praveen Kumar

No one came to Suvarna’s rescue. We were the only three women who saw the entire honour killing. “There were around 10 men, including her father beating her and finally hanging her to death. The entire village watched silently,” recalled 70-year-old Tholasamma, Govindaraju’s mother and his sister-in-law Thayamma.

Tholasamma and her two daughters-in-law, Thayamma and Mangala Gowri, are the main eye witnesses to the honour killing.

“Suvarna kept requesting her father and others to spare her and allow her to go away from the village with Govindaraju. But they only told her she deserved to be killed as she had brought dishonour to their caste by falling in love with a lower caste youth,” said Tholasamma and Thayamma. The three women ran out of the house with the children fearing that they too would be killed. ”

Till date, we do not know where our father-in-law is. Mangala Gowri is taking shelter elsewhere and we have no news about her.My two small children, including a two-year-old, are staying at different places. It has been several days since I have seen them,” added Thayamma, recalling that she had advised Govindaraju to forget Suvarna because of their caste differences.

“He had even left the village two months before the incident. But the girl was not ready to live withou him although she was engaged to someone else. More than the relationship between the two, what mattered to Suvarna’s father was their caste,” she said disdainfully. Her own life has clearly turned upside down since the incident.

I have never seen anyone being killed this way

“I will never ever return to my village where Suvarna was killed in the most barbaric way by her father and others,” said 27-year-old Govindaraju, also called Gundda , pouring his heart out to Deccan Chronicle on Thursday.

The location of the meeting will be kept a secret on his request as he believes his life too is under threat from Suvarna’s father and family.

Govindaraju belongs to the Madiga caste, considered the most oppressed and exploited. Suvarna, who did not care that he belonged to a lower caste while she herself was a Vokkaliga, was in love with him for five years. Although this did not go down well with her family, the couple never dreamed their love affair would meet such a gruesome end.

“Even in the most violent of films I have never come across any person being killed the way Suvarna was. She was dragged by her legs on the concrete road and beaten with wooden logs. She was brought to my house and asked to commit suicide by hanging. When she did not, she was killed by hanging. How can any father kill his daughter this way? I want these people to be punished for Suvarna’s soul to rest in peace. Like all other lovers, we were in love. I agree that we belonged to different castes. But what has her father gained by killing his daughter,” he lamented.

“Had the police acted fast on November 6, when Suvarna was being murdered, she would be alive today. My brother, K Thimappa, had rushed to the Koppa police station and informed the police about the tension in our village while Suvarna and I were being beaten. If the police had reacted fast, she would not have been killed,” he maintained.

Although he managed to escape through the sugarcane fields behind his house, he found it difficult to run as he was badly beaten.

“I had to drag on till I found a lorry transporting sugarcane. I reached the main road with the help of the driver and from there I came to my relative’s house on the outskirts of Bengaluru. If I had not escaped, I too would have been killed the same day,” he shuddered, unwilling to emerge from hiding as he is certain that will be as good as signing his own death warrant.

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