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.”

 

‘Mass Movements with Conviction Seldom Die’- SP Udayakumar #protest


Tehelka Magazine, Vol 9, Issue 40, Dated 06 Oct 2012

AS WORK at the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project kickstarts with the loading of fuel, SP Udayakumar, Coordinator of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) and the brain behind the anti-nuke struggle, finds himself on the run. Following a warrant for his arrest, the 53-year-old Udayakumar has been forced to shift base from the St Lourdes Matha Church in Idinthakarai to Koothankuli, where more than 200 volunteers guard him day and night. In a candid interview, the antinuke activist tells Jeemon Jacob why PMANE will continue its struggle and why he cannot rule out the possibility of entering politics.

SP Udayakumar
SP Udayakumar

EXCERPTS FROM AN INTERVIEW

Loading of fuel is in progress at the Koodankulam plant. Do you feel that you are on the verge of a losing battle?
Our struggle will not end tomorrow, it will go on forever. We have been protesting against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) since 1989 and have intensified the protest in the last 406 days. It’s true that KKNPP has started loading fuel at its plants violating all safety norms, but now, the Supreme Court has also raised the question of safety. When we started our struggle, we knew that our path would not be easy. Today, there are more than 10,000 people in Idinthakarai sitting in protest. Another 8,000 are protesting in Koothankuli. There are other villages protesting too. It has become a mass movement and mass movements with conviction seldom die.

But, what’s the point in protesting after the nuclear plant becomes operational?
We have reached a point of no return. Over the last 10 days, police has unleashed terror in our villages. They raided our homes, arresting women and children and registering sedition cases against thousands of people. They did not even spare the old and the handicapped. Around 350 cases have been registered against two lakh people in the coastal areas. “With SP Udayakumar, Pushparayan Victoria and 400 others,” they can even register cases against the unborn. People within a 7 km radius have been accused in at least half a dozen criminal cases. What crimes have we done? Is it a crime to sit and fast when you have grievances? We are fighting for a larger cause.

There are rumours that you are going to fight Lok Sabha election on a DMK ticket.
That’s a joke. For me, People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) is not a shortcut to politics. I did not join PMANE to become a leader. I live in Nagercoil, 35 km from Koodankulam with my family. I joined the Koodankulam struggle, as I believe that nuclear power endangers the lives of people. We have collectively taken a decision and stuck to it. As of now, I’ve no intentions of contesting elections. A section of our people wanted the anti-nuke movement to take a political turn, as we were ditched by all political parties. But I’ve strong reservations against it. We have no political colour and are driven by a cause. I wanted PMANE to remain like that. But it’s not my decision that will decide the course of our struggle.

Do you miss Idinthakarai?
I do. It was my second home for more than a year. I know everyone in that village. When I told them about my decision to surrender to the police, the women wept and the men lifted me, put me in a boat and brought me to Koothankuli. Their love and affection touched me. When I first came to Idinthakarai in 2004, I never thought the place was going to make my destiny.

How’s your life in Koothankuli?
I’ve put on weight. I’m sleeping and eating better. They take care of me well. This village is one of the toughest and most daring villages on the coast. I’m safe here.

Jeemon Jacob is Bureau Chief, South with Tehelka. 
jeemonj@gmail.com

One recommended issue of passport, another wanted it to be impounded: S P Udayakumar


Published: June 6, 2012 14:46 IST |

 

Madurai

    , The Hindu -Staff Reporter

 

Files counter affidavit in a writ filed by anti-nuclear activist S.P. Udayakumar

The Regional Passport Officer (RPO) here has submitted that his office issued a passport to anti-nuclear activist S.P. Udayakumar on September 15, 2010 following a positive police verification report given by Kanyakumari Superintendent of Police but subsequently decided to impound it on the basis of a request made by Tirunelveli Superintendent of Police.

Filing his counter affidavit to a writ petition filed by Mr. Udayakumar, the RPO, V. Sundararaman, said that the petitioner, a resident of Nagercoil in Kanyakumari district, had applied for renewal of his passport, originally issued by the Tiruchi RPO, in July 2010.

Then, a positive police verification report was received from the Kanyakumari SP recommending issuance of the passport.

Hence, the petitioner’s passport was renewed on September 15, 2010. Thereafter, the Tirunelveli Superintendent of Police wrote to the Madurai RPO seeking the petitioner’s passport details as he was involved in more than 72 criminal cases.

Immediately, the RPO furnished the details with a request to investigate as to how a positive report was sent by the Kanyakumari SP.

Reply

In reply, the Tirunelveli SP sent another communication through the Chennai RPO stating that the petitioner was involved in more than 98 criminal cases in Kudankulam and Pazhavoor police stations.

He also attached a list containing the details of the case numbers and requested the Madurai RPO to initiate steps for impounding the petitioner’s passport.

On receipt of the communication, the RPO requested the SP to obtain an order from a competent court for impounding the passport.

Notice

Simultaneously, he issued a show cause notice to the petitioner on March 3 this year informing him about the contents of the SP’s letter and advising him to surrender the passport within 15 days or to face appropriate action under the Passports Act 1967.

“The petitioner did not surrender the passport until April 16 and accordingly a final decision was taken to impound the passport. The decision was communicated to the petitioner along with his right to prefer an appeal against the decision before the authority concerned… The above action taken by this office is well within the framework of the provisions contained in the Passports Act.

“The procedure followed in the matter and the contents of our show cause notice are neither wilful nor in violation of principles of audi alteram partem (hear the other party too). The show cause notice is also not arbitrary in any manner. It also does not curtail the personal liberty of the petitioner in any way. The action taken by this office is also not with any malafide intention,” the counter affidavit read.

Adjourned

When the matter came up for hearing on Tuesday, Justice K. Venkataraman adjourned it to Thursday following a request made by Central Government Standing Counsel S. Sukumaran. The petitioner was represented by his counsel T. Lajapathi Roy and S. Vanchinathan.

Keywords: anti-nuclear activistpassport issueviolation of principles

Immediate Release- PMANE Denies Any Role in the Alleged Bomb Threat to KKNPP


People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)               May 16, 2012

Idinthakarai & P. O. 627 104
Tirunelveli District
Tamil Nadu, India
koodankulam@yahoo.com
pushparayan@gmail.com
Press Release
The PMANE Denies Any Role in the Alleged Bomb Threat to KKNPP
There are reports in the media today that the KKNPP has received three inland letters threatening them with possible bomb attacks. The PMANE has no role whatsoever in this as we have been leading a peaceful, democratic and nonviolent struggle for the past nine months without even a single incident of violence.
In fact, the members of the PMANE Struggle Committee have also been receiving several death threats, and some of the physically challenged men of Koodankulam were brutally attacked by the police on October 13, 2011 in front of the Koodankulam plant. These incidents have been glossed over by the police and the governments.
On May 11, 2012 one of our Struggle Committee members, Mr. V. Rajalingam from Koodankulam, was badly beaten up and verbally abused at 5:15 PM near the East Bazaar of Kodankulam by Mr. Stanley Jones, Vallioor Deputy Superintendent of Police and Mr. Rajapaul, Inspector of Koodankulam police station. Both Mr. Rajalingam and one Mr. R. K. Selvakumar who witnessed this brutal attack have submitted written and signed depositions at the Public Hearing conducted on May 14, 2012 in Chennai by the Chennai Solidarity Group for Koodankulam Struggle.
Some 15 other people from Idinthakarai, Koodankulam, Koothenkuzhy, Koottapuli, Nagercoil, Erode and Chennai also deposed on police brutalities, excesses and harassments at the above Public Hearing. The Panelists headed by Justice (Retd) A. P. Shah are in the process of preparing a report which is going to be submitted to the Central and State governments.
This alleged “bomb threat” must be seen at this backdrop. The PMANE would like to state categorically that our people have nothing to do with this threat and we would like to assert that we have been and will continue to be a peaceful and nonviolent movement. We would only request the authorities to treat the actual attacks on the School of the Struggle Committee Coordinator with this promptness and seriousness and apprehend the culprits in both cases.
The Struggle Committee
People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)

PMANE founder’s NGO inspected, wife says no foreign funds


by Pallavi Polanki Mar 30, 2012, Firstspost

The Nagercoil-based education trust run by SP Udayakumar, who is leading the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) from Idinthakarai village against Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, was subjected to a day-long inspection by Home Ministry officials on Thursday (March 29).

Firstpost spoke to Meera Kumar, wife of Udayakumar and trustee of the South Asian Community Centre for Education and Reasearch (SACCER), who spent the entire day answering questions and providing details of the Trust to the officials.

What was the inspection regarding?

There were two officials from the Home Ministry and one local officer. They wanted all the documents and accounts from 2005-06 to 2010-11. The officials were from the FCRA (foreign contribution regulation act) division of the Home Ministry.

Is SACCER receiving foreign funding?

No. We are not registered under the FCRA. On two occasions we got prior permission from the FCRA wing for donations. Both were donations were between 2005-2007.

The founder of PMANE was not present for the inspection. Firstpost

One was for Rs 90,000 from Aid India and the other for Rs 4.35 lakh from Watumull Foundation. Prior permission was received for both these contributions from the FCRA wing. The Rs 4.35 lakh was towards buying a van for the school (SACCER manages a school in Nagercoil). It was a down-payment for the van, the total cost of which was Rs 7.50 lakh or so. The remainder we paid through a loan.

The Rs 90, 000 was for a tsunami related project that my husband did for Aid India. It was an entrepreneurship programme for women. The money was given as cheque to the women and a few sewing machines were also given, I think.

The officials were concerned mainly about these two. They took audit statements for all years from 2005-06 to 2010-11.

Did they ask for accounts from 2011-12?

No. They didn’t ask for any documents or vouchers relating the current financial year.

Did they say what the purpose of the inspection was?

No. They didn’t tell me exactly why they had come. But I understood that they were under a lot of pressure from someone from above. They were very cordial with me. My husband usually handles all the paperwork. So I wasn’t familiar with a few things. So initially, it was bit difficult.

Was the inspection at the office alone?

We have an office at home. So the inspection took place there.

In the afternoon, I was asked to go the Traveller’s Bungalow (the district guesthouse for government officers). They asked me for all the ledgers and cash books. They wanted copies of everything.
They asked me for three certificates. One, on how many passbooks were opened and closed for the SACCER Trust. The second was on staff structure. Some of the vouchers were missing so they wanted me to give in writing that some of the vouchers were not traceable. So I wrote that.

How long did inspection last?

At the office it was from 9 am to 2 pm At the Traveller’s Bungalow, it was 3 pm to 9.50 pm. Most of the time was spent in making copies, compiling, attestation and so on.

Has the inspection concluded?

They have not called me today.

Did Koodankulam come up in conversation at all?

No. They didn’t mention it.

Did they ask for Udayakumar?

Once, the officer asked me where my husband was and if he was reachable. He wanted to know if I had the authority to sign and wanted to know if my husband had to give me power of attorney. We explained to them that I was one of the trustees and had the authority to sign.

Had the officials informed you of their visit?

They had sent us an email saying that we were supposed to be present in room number 9, Jaislamer House,(office of the FCRA division in Delhi) on March 29 and 30. We had replied through a lawyer that we wouldn’t be able to present ourselves. And we had sent a copy of the letter through email. But day before yesterday (March 28), an officer from SP’s office came home and informed us of the visit.

Had you received any communication from the FCRA prior to the email?

Yes. Late last year, they had sent us a questionnaire. It was pertaining to how much foreign contribution we have received. I had explained to them that there were two occasions on which we received contribution and for both we had prior permission from the FCRA. The documents have been submitted.

Did the officials speak to Udayakumar?

On two occasions, I gave the phone to one of the officials to speak to Kumar (who continues to be in Idinthakarai village, which is about 30 km from Nagercoil). My husband was explaining to him why he couldn’t be there and was apologizing for his absence.

How is Udayakumar’s health?

He has been on liquid diet for the last three days. (Udayakumar broke his nine-day fast on Wednesday). His health is a bit down. It looks like he has a flu. He has been treated at the hospital. He is feeling better today.

Has he come home after he called off his fast?

He hasn’t been home since February 28. They say that Section 144 has been relaxed for areas other than Koodankulam. They say it shouldn’t be difficult to get there. I am trying to meet him over the weekend. Since I have school tomorrow, I will to try to meet him on Sunday. I haven’t met him in the last one month.

Breaking News – Peoples Peaceful Protest WINS in Koondakulum


Anti-nuclear activists, spearheaded by S P Udayakumar, today called off their 9-day- old fast launched by them after Tamil Nadu government gave the go-ahead for the controversial Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. Udayakumar’s decision came hours after a delegation of his supporters met senior district administration officials who assured them that their charter of demands would be conveyed to the government for consideration. “The officials promised to look into the seven demands placed by PMANE (People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy).

We hope that the officials will talk to the government and meet our demands,” Udayakumar, who was on fast along with his associate Pushparayan and some others, told reporters here. Udayakumar broke the fast by accepting fruit juice offered to him by Madurai Bishop Peter Fernando. Besides Fernando, the 13-member delegation which included Rimond, Arivavalavan held talks with Collector Selvaraj, DIG Varadaraju and other officials and presented their seven demands for withdrawing their fast.

The Collector said he could withdraw prohibitory orders in all the areas except KNPP premises and had to convey their other demands to the government. The protestors demanded immediate withdrawal of cases filed against them, recognition of their struggle against nuclear energy and withdrawal of prohibitory orders in Radhapuram taluk. Other demands are release of all those arrested for organising protests, training for people in 32 villages in disaster management, an ‘open and frank’ nuclear liability bill and explanation to locals on how safely nuclear waste would be disposed. The anti-nuclear activists led by PMANE were on fast after Tamil Nadu government gave its go-ahead to the Indo-Russian nuclear project on March 19, clearing the decks for resumption of the work now in full swing. Udayakumar had yesterday said he was ready for talks with government provided cases against PMANE members were dropped.

The decision on actual details of where section 144 will be lifted, and release of prisoners, will only be confirmed by the DM tomorrow – presumably after consultations with high command!

 So until then the relay fasts will continue; kids will not go to school; boats will not put out to sea; and shops will not re-open, until the orders are final and the comrades return home from prisons where they are being held.

This is a victory for the people, for truth and nonviolence.

 there is a long battle ahead.

URGENT-Call for Participation: A joint march from Nagarcoil to Koodankulam on March 26th


Dear All,

Situation in Koodankulam has precipitated to an unthinkable repression.  More than 6000 police personnel and paramilitary forces have been deployed around Idinthakarai village where about 20,000 people from surrounding villages have gathered to protest. While 16 people have started a fast unto death at Idinthakarai, the police have cut down all essential supplies including food, water and electricity. They are demanding surrender of leading activists like S P Udayakumar, Pushparayan and others. Section 144 has been imposed on the majority of coastal villages in Radhapuram block. Media entry has also been denied in Idinthakarai.

A major intervention from the democratic sections of Indian society is required at this juncture. We have planned a joint march from Nagarcoil to Koodankulam on March 26th (Monday). Different activists groups and organizations in Kerala are supporting this initiative and we hope to ensure participation of around 500 people here. Kerala groups have always participated in the Koodankulam struggle in large numbers. However, without participation of some eminent people, this march would just not create that impact that is required this time.

We are writing to you with a sense of desperation and hope. It is important that you make some extra effort and join us. We will start from Nagarcoil and peacefully begin hunger-strike/sit-in protest where we are stopped by the forces.

We sincerely hope you would be able to join us and support the Koodankulam movement at this crucial hour.

Looking forward to your positive response,

With best regards,

In Solidarity

N.Subrahmanyan,

K.Ramachandran

P.K.Sundaram

Sajeer.A.R

Fr.Augustin Vattoli

K.Sahadevan

Koodankulam Alert 22 nd March 2012


Idinthakarai Update March 22, 2012

The situation here is still grim. There are some 10,000 people from coastal and interior villages. Most of them are women including pregnant women and nursing women.
I myself saw many nursing women feeding their babied sweetened water as there was no milk coming to the village. More people are coming by boats and on foot as the access roads are all blocked by police. There is no bus service to this place.
There is no sanitary complex and women bear the brunt of it. No public health official has ever come to help the people.

Some 15 of us have been on indefinite hunger strike and no medical doctor has ever come here to check our health. The Dinamalam newspaper has reported today that we have all been eating heartily and pretending to be fasting. If this anti-Tamil
newspaper can prove that there is a trace of food in my or Pushparayan’sstomach, we are ready to leave this protest. Otherwise, will they stop publishing this stupid paper? We are fighting for a cause not prostituting our soul like
the Dinamalam does.

On March 21,my mother had received a phone call from one advocate by the name T. Udayakumar and he claimed he was calling from the DGP office in Chennai. He asked my mother to ask me to leave the protest so that all the cases against me would be dropped and I would get whatever I ask for. My mother told him that I was not a man of that nature and ended the conversation. That evening the Superintendent of Police of Tirunelveli District called me on my mobile and asked me to
surrender alone so that people would not be affected. I told him that I was all ready for that but the people here at Idinthakarai also wanted to get arrested along with me and they would not let me go alone. I proposed to the SP to send enough number of buses and two police officers so that there would not be any stampede or tussle and we all would board the buses peacefully and go wherever they wanted us to go. He would not accept that proposition and said in anger: “This is the last time I talk to you.” There ended our conversation.

That night the police officer who was on security duty at our SACCER Matriculation School outside Nagercoil town had received a phone call from the Kanyakumari District SP office to go away from the school. Then a group of vandals, obviously with
the blessings of the police, had entered the school and destroyed it very badly. The compound wall was completely demolished and the gate damaged. They ransacked the school bus after tearing down the car shed’s iron shutters. They had entered the KG classrooms and destroyed all the small little chairs which my children were using to sit on. They had broken all the tables and chairs and I do not understand why they punished my little children like this. The vandals had entered our school library and destroyed all the 12 glass bookshelves and tables and threw away the books.

My 250 children are all avid readers and have been using our library extensively. This reminds me of the burning of the
Public Library at Jaffna a few years ago.

The governments and the police treat and speak of me as if I were Osama bin Laden and our people some mindless terrorists. We resent this inhuman and brutal treatment . Electricity, water, milk and other essentials have been cut for two days; people
cannot go out of and come into Idinthakarai as there is brutal police control. We are surrounded by police and I truly feel like I am at Mullivaickal.

We are a group of simple people who have been fighting nonviolently and democratically against an untested foreign reactor with all kinds of problems and hiccups. We have not done any harm to anybody or anybody’s property in our eight-month long
struggle. The whole country is proud of our people.

The stalemate continues. There are protests happening all over the country and the state of Tamil Nadu. Whoever is farsighted enough to worry about the future of India’s “ordinary citizens,” our natural resources, the well-being of our progeny, the possibility of losing our freedom to the New Nuclear East India Companies and most importantly, the democratic fabric of our country support us. We thank them and you for standing with us. We are ready for any brutal police action but will not give up our nonviolent noncooperation camp.

From: “S. P. Udayakumar”

 

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