En masse sedition in Koodankulam # Censorship

How can a peaceful agitation of villagers against a nuclear power plant in their backyard be a seditious activity? Yet an unprecedented 3500 protestors have been charged with sedition,   says NITYANAND JAYARAMAN. Pix: dianuke.org  -

Between September and December 2011, 107 FIRs were registered in just one police station – the Koodankulam P.S. – against more than 55,000 people. That is about 30 percent of the total eligible voters in that Assembly constituency. The cases began to be registered within a few months of the new Government assuming power in Tamil Nadu. Of these, 3500 people are accused of “sedition” and/or “waging war against the state” – perhaps the largest number for any police station in independent or British India. The actual numbers of accused and FIRs are likely to be at least double this if the data is updated to April 2012. Ironically, the accused are all part of an 8-month long Gandhian protest against the Koodankulam nuclear power plant. According to local activists, cases are being filed for every day of protest even now.

The methods used by Tamil Nadu police are not unique to the Southern State. From Bhopal to Jagatsinghpur to Kalinganagar and Lanjigarh, and behind the scandalous jailings of two persons for circulating Mamata’s cartoon or behind her jailing of several people protesting the eviction of the Nondanga slum near Kolkata, the thinking and the modus operandi of the State is the same – to criminalise dissent.

“This is a parody of law. The frequency and manner in which the Police has 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,” said Sam Rajappa, a senior journalist who led a fact-finding team to Koodankulam in March. The national media has gone to town, and rightly so, over Mamata Banerjee‘s heavy-handedness against dissenters. But, its stony silence on Jayalalithaa’s campaign against people who speak out against nuclear power is curious.

At least two journalists from national newspapers I spoke to said they did not carry the story because they found the 55,000 figure incredible. They spoke to Vijendra Bidari, the SP of Tirunelveli, who rubbished the claims of the protestors. Firstpost.com was, in fact, the only publication that actually did its own enquiries and published a story containing even Bidari’s interview. “It is totally wrong. It will be around 40-50 people. They don’t have the FIRs. In multiple cases, the accused are the same. So if you keep adding the same names, the number will be more. It is totally false,” Bidari is reported to have told Firstpost.

But the facts speak for themselves. Take a look at the table compiled by supporters of the struggle based on information from the Police Station. As against Bidari’s claim of cases against only 40 to 50 people, just one FIR filed on 21.11.11 accuses “Udayakumar and 3000 others” of sedition and waging war against the state. The accused in this case are not people who want to secede from India. Indeed, just a few months earlier, they were part of the 74 percent of the electorate who turned up to cast their votes. Their alleged crime, in this case, was to have questioned the safety of the nuclear plant and delayed its commissioning.

In pursuing this counter-campaign against its own people, the State Government has placed itself above the law of the land and pursued an openly anti-democratic agenda. Eminent legal scholar Dr. Usha Ramanathan says the law does not permit such arbitrary FIRs. “The State Government is openly coming out and saying “We have the power and the law cannot bind us,” she says. “This use of the Sedition provision, for instance, is a classic case of a State not even needing to hide behind anything, when it is treating itself as in a state of exception in relation to the law.”

In foisting cases, the State Government’s motive, Dr. Ramanathan says, is not restoring law and order or apprehending offenders. Rather it is to shut people up. “Because, they know even if all the cases fall at the end of the day it doesn’t matter, because they’ve had their purpose served. You can beat people up, you can put them away. It’s a total abuse of a power that actually doesn’t exist, but which they have managed to cultivate for themselves.”

All these FIRs were filed quietly. No public action was to be taken against the anti-nuke protestors until all democratic electoral rituals were out of the way. On March 18, the bye election to the Sankaran Koil constituency in the same district was held. On March 19, 2012, the Chief Minister deployed more than 5000 heavily armed police to Radhapuram taluka. The district collector declared Section 144 all over the taluk. Police harassed shopkeepers that had shut shop in solidarity with the protestors to open for business. Fisherfolk were being forced to return to sea.

For the next four days, the State tried to isolate the protesting village and terrorise people into giving up their resistance. Protestors and supporters of the movement were picked up and jailed under one or more of the 107 FIRs already registered, or under new cases. Of the nearly 200 jailed, including 21 youngsters, two are still in jail. With the FIRs containing thousands of un-named persons as accused hanging like the proverbial sword over their heads, residents of Idinthakarai are fearful that they will be caught and jailed if they leave their village.

“Pushparayan, Jesuraj and I have been living in an open quater-km-radius prison since March 19, 2012,” writes Dr. S.P. Udayakumar, convenor of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy that is spearheading the protests. “Thousands of people sleep around our house at night in order to protect us from possible police action and mid-night arrest. Hundreds of youth protect us round the clock.”

In the week after Jayalalithaa’s declaration of support to the plant, police cordons blocked the access of essential supplies and services for protestors in Idinthakarai. Keys to the Panchayat water tank were seized. Fortunately, the protestors had a fair share of fisherfolk among them. At tremendous expense of time and diesel, the protestors managed to bring in drinking water, provisions and milk for their children using their fishing boats through the sea route. “The government also suspended bus services in the area, causing untold hardships to the aged, ailing, and pregnant women needing urgent medical attention,” Rajappa’s fact-finding visit concluded.

Owing to public pressure, the undeclared embargo on movement of essential supplies was eased within days. But what remains even today is an uneasy quiet in Tirunelveli district. The stories that local activists tell are quite disturbing. Public demonstrations against nuclear power are not permitted. Private halls and autitoriums in schools and colleges are not available for meeting critical of nuclear energy.

“If we approach a hall owner for a meeting, the next minute the Intelligence Bureau (IB) calls and threatens them,” says Samuel Asir Raj, a professor of sociology who is critical of nuclear energy. Prof. Raj has himself faced state censorship on more than one occasion. On 19 April, Raj organised a meeting on nuclear energy. But he had to tell the IB that the talk was about “Globalisation and the Indian Economy.” Not to be fooled, the IB asked for an advance copy of the presentation.

“It is not right for the police to ask for a copy of a presentation in an academic setting. Academicians cannot be prevented from learning the various sides of a philosophy. How can they deny students an opportunity to understand the different points of view on a matter?” he asks. When asked how the University management manage to stand up to police pressure, Raj laughing says “Fortunately, we don’t have a Vice Chancellor.”

The last time he organised a meeting condemning the killing of dalits by the Police in the infamous Manjolai Estate firing, “the VC was spoken to and I was given a talking to.”

Considering what has been thrown at them by the State, the resolve of the anti-nuke protestors in pursuing their peaceful campaign suggests a formidable democratic spirit. On 23 April, the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy announced the resumption of an indefinite hunger strike starting May 1, the International Workers Day.


Anti- Nuke Activists and Koodankulam protesters resume indefinite hunger strike


Protest leader Udayakumar says that they are still ‘committed’ to continue their non-violent protests against the nuke plant

Jeemon Jacob

Anti-nuke protesters have started their fourth indefinite hunger strike at Idinthakarai Lourde Matha Church grounds on Tuesday afternoon. Twenty five villagers representing four villages have gone on an indefinite hunger strike. From 4 May onwards, women will also join the protests. According to Dr SP Udayakumar, convener, People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), the people of the affected villages decided to relaunch their agitation against the commissioning of the nuclear plant in Koodankulam.

“Though we have announced that we will relaunch agitation from May, in the morning we decided to delay the agitation for two days honouring the requests of the district administration. But our people were not ready to delay the agitation. They wanted to resume hunger strike at the earliest and we are not going to stop it till the closure of the Koodankulam Nuclear plant,” Udayakumar said.

Twelve representatives from the affected villages around Koodankulam met District Collector R Selvaraj and other senior police officials and held discussions to sort out the Koodankulam stalemate. “When we met the district administration and handed over our demands, they asked us to delay the agitation for two days. We have conveyed their request to the village council members who are backing anti-nuke protests,” said Father Arimavalavan, a priest who led the village representatives.

“But people were not ready to honour the requests of the district administration,” the priest said. PMANE has demanded that the government constitutes an independent and transparent national committee to conduct a study on hydrology, geology, oceanography and seismology of the region and share the report with the local people. Anti-nuke protesters wanted the management to conduct disaster management and evacuation exercises around 30 km radius of KKNPP adhering to the international standards.

“We have listed our demands and now it’s the duty of government to react. We also want the government to share a copy of the secret inter-governmental agreement between India and Russia in 2008 on nuclear liability,” said Udayakumar.

According to him, the fourth phase of the protests will be on a peaceful mode. “Since the beginning, we have been conducting our protests on a non-violent platform. We are committed to continuing our protests on the same line,” said Udayakumar.

Jeemon Jacob is Bureau Chief, South with Tehelka

More sedition cases against anti-nuke protestors than Maoists, militants

More sedition cases against anti-nuke protestors than Maoists, militants

by Pallavi Polanki Apr 21, 2012, FirstPost

The speed and determination with which the Tamil Nadu government has been slapping its citizens right, left and centre with colonial-era laws, it would seem as if a full-fledged war of independence is raging in the fishing villages of Idinthakarai and Kudankulam along the coast of Tamil Nadu.

According to findings by a team led senior journalist Sam Rajappa, in just four months between September (when the protest movement against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant began to gather momentum) and December 2011, over 6,000 people have been charged under Section 121 (waging war against the government) and Section 124A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at the Kudankulam police station.

The majority of the cases are against PMANE convenor SP Udayakumar. Firstpost

Commenting on the report Nityanand Jayaraman, a member of the Solidarity Group for Koodankulam Struggle said, “The Kudankulam police station has the dubious distinction, perhaps, of being a station where the largest number of sedition and waging war cases have been filed in the shortest time in the history of colonial and Independent India.”

In comparison, in militancy-hit Jammu & Kashmir, in 2011, between 600-800 people were booked for sedition, according to human rights lawyers.

In Jharkhand, a state facing the Maoist-led insurgency, Anurag Gupta, Inspector General (Organised Crime) said, “We have no record of these cases in 2011. But our records are not perfect, there might have been a few cases. However, for terrorism-related activities, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) is invoked.”

To book fisherfolk – most of them women and children on a relay hunger strike – on terror charges especially after both the foreign-hand theory and the Maoist theory failed to stick, surely would have attracted a lot of media attention.

The sedition charge, on the other hand, is a far more convenient weapon that has been repeatedly used by the state every time it has wanted to silence dissenters.

Explaining how data on the cases was compiled, Jayaraman said, “We weren’t given this information from the police station. We made requests to get the details. It took us seven days to compile it. Between September and December, 107 separate FIRS were registered under various section of IPC, including Section 121 and 124A.”

“If you add the number of accused in the FIRs it comes to 55,795. The FIRs don’t tell you who the 55,000-odd people are. The FIRs are registered like this: Udayakumar and 2000 others. Now, who the 2000 are is left to the discretion of the police,” he said.

The main accused in many of the FIRs, not unexpectedly, is SP Udayakumar, who is leading the anti-nuclear protests from Idinthakarai village.

Vijayendra Bidari, Superintendent of Police (SP) of Tirunelveli district, where Kudankulam and Idinthakarai are located, rejected the figures quoted by the fact-finding team.

“It is totally wrong. It will be around 40-50 people. They don’t have the FIRs. In multiple cases, the accused are the same. So if you keep adding the same names, the number will be more. It is totally false,” said Bidari.

Contesting the SP’s claim, Jayaraman quotes an example of a single FIR where more than 3,000 people have been charged with sedition and waging war against the government.

“FIR, crime no. 372/11, was filed on November 21, 2011. The complainant is recorded as Nathan Elango. And a case has been registered against ‘Udayakumar and 3,000 others’ on whom various sections of the IPC have been put, including Section 121 and Section 124A.”

Bidari, however, played down the Kudankulam police station’s record-breaking performance in registering FIRs.

“The FIRs have been registered and the cases are under investigation. We haven’t filed any charge sheet yet. Only after investigations, it will be clearer what the sections are, how valid the sections and whether we file the charge sheet or not. The FIRs are given by the local people and based on the content the sections are attracted. Whether a case is made out or not is up to the investigating officer. Let them investigate the case. Only when it put up before the court, can we say that these are the charges,” he said.

The senior police official also rejected the “false allegation” that the mad rush for registering such cases was designed to intimidate and harass the protestors. “It is not true at all. From the beginning the protestors have been putting this false allegation on the police. There is no harassment,” Bidari said.

Describing the absurdity of the police action as “a parody of law”, senior journalist Sam Rajappa who led the fact-finding team, in a press statement said: “The Tamil Nadu CM belongs right up there with Mamata Banerjee for her vengeful use of the Indian Penal Code to suppress any contrary voices.”

Koodankulam: Idinthakarai turned into an open-air jail, govt playing divide-and-rule

Idinthakarai Update

April 10, 2012


The daily relay fast has been happening here without interruption. Eleven of our comrades from Koodankulam have just been released on bail and each person has been asked to post 8 individual sureties holding properties worth more than Rs. 10,000. There are 30 more people in the Trichy prison, and 2 other friends, Muhilan and Satish facing the most serious charges. It is really strange that we are being treated like terrorists even by the courts. In fact, the Maoist groups in Orissa are able to get their comrades released from prisons by taking foreigners and state legislators as hostages. While we condemn this hostage-taking, we also wonder what kind of a message does the Indian State give to our youth. Nonviolent, peaceful fighters are being hounded and harassed, but violent fighters are granted their desires and wishes freely. Is this a good trend for our country?

Pushparayan, Jesuraj and I have been living in an open quarter-km-radius prison since March 19, 2012. Thousands of people sleep around our house at night in order to protect us from possible police action and mid-night arrest. Hundreds of youth protect us round the clock.

I have been suffering from haemorrhoids (piles) for the past four days and the Catholic sisters who run a small clinic here at Idinthakarai have given me the best medicines that they have. My American friends used to swear,”pain in the butt” when they had to deal with difficult people; now I know the meaning of this phrase. We all know “shit happens.” But now I also know what happens when shit does not happen regularly. Oh, my! (Incidentally, please allow me to share with you a one-act play that I wrote last year and published it in a book “Peace Plays” with Professor Johan Galtung and Dr. Vital Rajan. If you like to use it in any way, please get permission from the Publisher.)
SP Udayakumar, Coordinator, People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy

In fact, I have to see a doctor but I cannot leave this village as I would be arrested if I got out of here. All the “sedition’ and “waging war against the State” cases are still there and none of them has been withdrawn. My old parents and not-so-young wife call me every hour to suggest a new remedy for my predicament and the most recently-invented medication. I am in great pain and cannot sit down, or stand up. To tell you the truth, I cannot even cough. But I must evade the police, courts, prisons, and the related agonies of nonviolent public life. At least for the time being?!

There are credible newspaper reports that charge sheets are being prepared for all the 200 plus cases against us. The police are said to be dividing us all into two groups: masterminds and innocent people. Since we, the masterminds, “instigated” the innocent people to protest against the Koodankulam nuclear power plant, we are going to be booked under all the serious charges and the “ordinary citizens” would be let off. The Central Government is preparing to start a new organization called NCTC, National Counter-Terrorism Centre, similar to the American institution, Homeland Security. Some Chief Ministers in India oppose this NCTC as it infringes on the rights of the states as ‘law and order’ is a state issue. We do not know what is going to happen in May when all these people meet to decide on this undemocratic and anti-democratic initiative. I can only say, God Save India! And the whatever-little-democracy we have!

On April 9, 2012, a high-level delegation from the Communist Party of India (CPI) came to visit us at Idinthakarai under the leadership of the veteran leader Comrade R. Nallakannu. The CPI is still struggling with the problem of coming to a clear cut position on nuclear power. And another veteran Communist leader from the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Comrade V.S. Achuthanandan, is scheduled to come here on April 12th. That party is also not very clear about the issue of nuclear power. But the fact that they are all coming to see us makes us a bit hopeful about achieving nuclear-free India.

S. P. Udayakumar

A Prayer by Indians

(With Due Apologies to St. Francis, Reinhold Niebuhr and St. Patrick)

Oh, Prime Ministerial Lord, make me a sports authority of your games;
where there is common, let me steal wealth;
where there is contract, commission;
where there is agreement, kickbacks;
where there is deal, cut;
where there is pact, brokerage;
… where there is bill, fee.
Oh, Apolitical Master!
grant that I may not so much seek to be taxed as to tax;
to be assessed, as to assess;
to be looted, as to loot;
for it is in plundering that we receive,
it is in funding that we are funded,
and it is in boot-licking that we are born to Powerful Life.

Oh, Neta, grant me the temerity
to accept the radioactivity that I cannot avoid;
Patriotism to welcome even more activity
and stupidity not to know the difference
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting nuclear plants and bombs as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He –the O-Bomb-Ma– did, this scientific world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that His Capitalistic Masters will make all things right
if I surrender to Their Corporate Will;
That I may be reasonably radioactive in this life
and supremely radiant with PM
Forever in the next.

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity –Money, Machine, Market
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity –Liberalization, Privatization, Globalization
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity –Communalism, Corruptionism, Capitalism
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me forever.
By power of profit, Capitalists‘ incarnation;
Its baptism in the exploitation river;
Its death on Gross for my manipulation;
Its bursting from the share market;
Its riding up the hedonistic way;
Its coming at the day of trading;
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great oppression of the powerful;
The sweet ‘Go to Hell‘ in judgment hour,
The service of the Political Leaders,
Bureaucrats’ faith, Scientists’ word,
The businessmen’s prayers, the Military Chiefs’ scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Foreign Lord,
And impurity of stinking souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the First Families,
The glorious sons’ and daughters’ life-sucking way,
The blackness of the night at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of the PM to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of the PM’s boss to teach,
Her hand to guide, Her shield to ward,
The word of both to silence my speech,
Their foreign host to be my guard.

Bribe be with me, Bribe within me,
Bribe behind me, Bribe before me,
Bribe beside me, Bribe to win me,
Bribe to comfort and restore me.
Bribe beneath me, Bribe above me,
Bribe in quiet, Bribe in danger,
Bribe in hearts of all that love me,
Bribe in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Corrupt;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all politics hath creation,
Eternal Sycophancy, Nepotism, Favoritism:
Praise to the Lords of my exploitation,
Exploitation is of PM the Lord.”

S. P. Udayakumar
April 7, 2012

FIR being filed against every shopkeeper who does not open his shop in Koondakulum

A warning to the TN Govt on Koodankulam

A warning to the TN Govt on Koodankulam (Photo credit: Joe Athialy)

Idinthakarai Update
April 5, 2012
On April 4 morning a police constable by the name Mr. Murugesan from Avaraikulam village beat up one Mr. Pathira Pandi from Koodankulam claiming the latter had asked the local shopkeepers to close their shops in support of our protest. Mr. Pandi suffered severe injuries on his face and chest. Since it is futile to complain to the local police about a local policeman, his family preferred not to file any complaint. They were also afraid of more police harassment including false cases.
We hear that the local police at Koodankulam are filing FIRs on every shopkeeper who does not open his shop. This is quite a new record on the Indian State‘s upholding of our civil rights.
The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu had demanded all the power from the Koodankulam nuclear power plant for Tamil Nadu. Some of the Congress party leaders had also supported her claim. But the junior minister at the power ministry in Delhi has clarified that Tamil Nadu would get only 50 percent power from Koodankulam, other states would get 35 percent and the central pool would receive 15 percent. The people of Tamil Nadu expect the Chief Minister to explain her stand on the Koodankulam project now. The people of Tamil Nadu would pay a heavy price for the mega nuclear park but we will get only 50 percent power. There are plans to give electricity even to Sri Lanka from the Koodankulam project.
148 people from the coastal village of Koottapuli have been released from the prison and they were accorded a hero’s welcome by the village people when they all reached their homes on April 4th evening. Earlier large crowds of people including anti-nuclear activists and cadres of several political outfits welcomed and honored them at Tiruchi and Tirunelveli. Some 50 more people may get their bail applications approved today. But there is no official word on cancelling all the false cases that have been foisted on us.
Today is the 161st day of the relay hunger strike. On the 160th day yesterday thousands of people from all the neighboring villages and even some distant towns in Tamil Nadu participated in the hunger strike.

Work continues at Kundakulam Nuclear plant as does police crackdown on protesters

Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project site, commissioning expected by the end of May

Jeemon Jacob
Thiruvanthapuram, 2 nd April 2012

Work at the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project site continues to be on a fast track, and according to sources the plant will be ready to commission within eight weeks. According to an official working at Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project site, the commissioning of the plant is expected by the end of May. Scientists and officials had reviewed the progress of the project last week. “Our scientists and technicians are working over time and we will be able to complete the project in time,” said the official who wished to remain anonymous.

Meanwhile, the government crackdown on anti-nuke protesters continues. The Madurai Passport Officer has directed PMANE convener Dr SP Udayakumar to surrender his passport as a criminal case is pending against him. On Friday 30 March, officials from the intelligence bureau and the state police conduced a raid at Udayakumar’s house and the school his wife runs. During 12-hour raid, police confiscated documents of banking transactions and accounts books of the school. “We run a small school for 217 poor children. We have managed to run the school with limited support from local well-wishers,” said Udayakumar.

“I got a letter from Passport officer Madurai to surrender my passport as a criminal case has been registered against me. It’s an oppressive measure by the Central government. Hardcore criminals and the corrupt people have several passports and the authorities have never asked them to surrender their passports. They are treating me as if I am a terrorist,” said Udayakumar.

The letter dated 30 March stated, that there were 98 criminal cases registered against Udayakumar in connection with the Koodankulam anti-nuclear struggle. He was directed to surrender his passport within 15 days of receiving the letter. Leader Pushparayan Victoria, Udayakumar’s colleague at PMANE condemned the government’s move to throttle the struggle by slapping false cases on the protesters. He also wanted the Tamil Nadu Assembly to pass a Resolution to protect Pechiparai water from Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project. He alleged that Tamil Nadu is trying to divert water from Pechiparai dam to Koodankulam power project.

“The Government of Tamil Nadu has prepared a Rs 83-crore project proposal for the renovation of Pechiparai dam and Rs 5crore is going to be spent for desilting the dam. It’s a secret plot to divert the water to Koodankulam project,” said Pushparayan. The 42-feet high Pechiparai dam was opened in 1906 and feeds some 50,000 acres of paddy crop in the fertile Kanyakumari district. “When the KKNPP officials had tried to utilise Pechiparai water for their nuclear project, there was a massive protest against the plan in Kanyakumari district. Ever since, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) authorities and the State and Central government officials had assured the local people that Pechiparai water would not be diverted to the Koodankulam project,” said Pushparayan.

However, despite these assurances, pipelines have been laid in Kanyakumari district and two such lines have been extended all the way up to the coastal villages of Kanyakumari and Kovalam. “They can be extended to Koodankulam at a very short notice,” he added.

Jeemon Jacob is Bureau Chief, South with Tehelka. 

Immediate Release- False Promises by Govt to Anti- Nuke Activists

A warning to the TN Govt on Koodankulam

A warning to the TN Govt on Koodankulam (Photo credit: Joe Athialy)

Idinthakarai Update
April 2, 2012
On March 27, 2012 evening 7:30 PM, we gave up our indefinite hunger strike of 9 days after a credible team of mediators had a round of talks with the Tamil Nadu government officials at Radhapuram near here. They had accepted to release all our comrades from prison and withdraw all the false and serious cases against us.
On March 29, 2012 at 9 AM, a team of Home Ministry officials from New Delhi descended on my family’s home at Nagercoil and inspected our SACCER Trust’s account for 12 hours both at home and again at the Government Guest House in Nagercoil. Our small Trust with hardly any money runs a very small school of 217 children. [It is interesting to note that the central government’s and state government’s teams inspected the Koodankulam nuclear power plant for hardly a few hours, and not 12 hours at a stretch.]
On March 30, 2012, I received a letter from the Passport Officer in Madurai that I have to return my Passport as I have criminal cases against me. [I wonder if all the politicians, bureaucrats, scientists, military leaders and businessmen with criminal record have received such a request and I am approaching the court to verify this.]
People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)                                                       April 1, 2012
Idinthakarai & P. O. 627 104
Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu
Phone: 98656 83735; 98421 54073
Press Release – Tirvandrum
The People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) entered into a negotiation with the Tamil Nadu State officials on March 27, 2012 with the assistance of some credible and respectable mediators. As per that mediation, the Tamil Nadu State Government assured to release all the imprisoned people through due process and withdraw all the cases that have been registered against us.
However, the bail process is being delayed by several obstacles such as filing charge sheets in additional cases, demanding double surety, and condition bail of asking people to produce themselves at a distant police station on daily basis.
All the false and serious cases such as ‘sedition’ and ‘waging war on the Indian State’ have not been withdrawn yet. Instead all these cases that randomly include +3,000 people and +2,000 people are used to intimidate the local people. So people here live in fear and are very afraid to venture out of their homes and villages. We hear reports that the Tamil Nadu Government is still trying to arrest all the important leaders and functionaries as soon as possible.
Furthermore, personal vendetta is being taken by the State and Central agencies on some individuals and NGOs. The Home Ministry officials searched the home of S. P. Udayakumar on March 29, 2012 for some 12 hours. And the Madurai Passport Officer has now asked Udayakumar to surrender his passport within 15 days through his letter dated 30/3/2012.
The Tamil Nadu Government has sent the local police officers and constables from Koodankulam and Idinthakarai etc. to their respective villages on official duty to divide the local communities by instigating caste and religious hatred and group clashes. These police men spend all their time talking to their relatives and friends in their villages spreading rumors and causing fear and concerns among the people.
The Tamil Nadu Government is also using the Rs. 500 crore package to woe the corrupt and unscrupulous elements from the local villages, divide the communities and mobilize false support for the Koodankulam nuclear power project.
We would also like to highlight the fact that the KKNPP has been restarted without any kind of consent and cooperation of the local people and it grossly violates Article 32 of the Indian Constitution. The fears and concerns of the people have not been addressed in any meaningful manner by both the Expert Teams nominated by the Central and State Governments. These governments are blatantly violating the rights and entitlements of the local people in an arrogant and authoritarian manner.
The PMANE has concluded its 9-day indefinite hunger strike and has resumed its relay hunger strike on daily basis from March 28, 2012. It is not true that our struggle has been withdrawn just because we have decided to resume fishing, open the local shops and send the Idinthakarai children back to school.
Supreme Court Advocate Shri Prashant Bhushan visited us on March 31, 2012 and the former Chief Minister of Kerala and current opposition leader Shri V.S. Achuthanandan is scheduled to visit on April 12, 2012.
The Struggle Committee
People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy

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.

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