Reports from National Anti-Nuclear Yatra from Tarapur to Jaitapur

April 25, 2011

National Anti Nuclear Yatra Illegally Detained by Govt, Yatris on Hunger Strike

The national anti nuclear yatra, from Tarapur (First Nuclear power plant in India) to Jaitapur (prosed mega power plant) from 23rd to 25th April was detained today illegally by the Police today, 23rd April, at 3pm in TARAPUR ITSELF. All those detained have started hunger strike in protest.

Nearly 100 People from all parts of India(Gujarat, Tamilandu, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Hariyana, Madhya Pradesh), and eminent activists like Prof. Banwarilal Sharma (Azadi Bachao Andolan), Vaishali Patil (Konkan Vinashkari Prakalp virodhi samitee), Admiral Ramdas, Neeraj Jain (Lokayat, Pune), Dr. S. P. Udaykumar (Kudumkulam Anti nuclear movement, Tamilnadu), Prof. H.K.Desarada(eminent economist, Pune), Ashok Rao(President, National Confederation of Officers Associations of Central PSUs), Dr. V. N. Sharma, Jyoti Punwani (Journalist, Mumbai), Gabriela Ditritch (Activist, Tamilnadu) and many others have been illegally detained and kept in Boisar Police station for more than 4 hours by 7 pm.

The public meeting in Tarapur started at 11 am and finished off peacefully at 2 pm. When the yatris started a march towards the buses to start off the yatra and proceed for a public meeting planned at Thane, the police stopped them and took all of them to Boisar police station in two police vans. The Police denied to tell the yatris the charges levied against them and just kept all of them in detention.

This is clearly a move of the government to suppress the democratic right of the citizens of the country to speak out against nuclear power.. The government which killed people in Sakhri-Nate is now suppressing the people from voicing their protest to nuclear energy. The detention has clearly been done with the view of disrupting the whole schedule of the yatra.

While Scientist Soumya Dutta, Justice P B Sawant(Retd Supreem Court Judge) and Justice Kolse Patil(Retd High Court Judge) and few others successfully evaded the police to reach to Thane and start the planned public meeting there, almost all others have been kept in detention till now.

We demand immediate release of the detained people and no interruption in the route of the yatra by the government.

Alka Joshi and Adv. Balkrishna Sawant
94 22 03 56 96/ 94 22 31 91 29
For the National Anti Nuclear Yatra Committee

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Press Release for National Anti-Nuclear Yatra from Tarapur to Jaitapur

April 23, 2011

More than a month after the catastrophic accident at Fukushima, the Japanese nuclear authorities are still struggling to gain control over the damaged reactors. They have now admitted that it would take at least 9 months to cold shut down the reactors. The Japanese government has increased the severity of the accident to the highest level of seven, the same level as that of Chernobyl. The Chernobyl accident seriously contaminated an area as big as Maharashtra, for tens of thousands of years. While four lakh people were evacuated, the many millions who continue to live in this region know that they are forever contaminated, that they could develop cancer anytime, that their children and grand children and great grand children could be born with severe birth defects. Nearly ten lakh people have died so far due to the delayed health effects of the Chernobyl accident, and the number will continue to increase, according to a report published by the US Academy of Sciences in 2010.

The Fukushima accident has forced the Japanese government to evacuate an area of 20 kms from the plant; while the US has recommended an 80-km no-go zone to its citizens. Tens of thousands of people are being evacuated; the number could cross a few lakhs. Eventually, if they do go back to their homes after many months, they will go with the knowledge that their environment is contaminated with deathly radiation that would last for tens of thousands of years. Independent European medical experts have estimated that more than 4 lakh people will suffer from cancer in the coming decades in the region 200 kms from the reactor. The radioactive contamination from the plant has spread all over the world. In France, pregnant women and children are being asked to avoid consuming products such as milk and vegetables with large leaves, and to be careful when drinking water from reservoirs that collect rain water. Milk samples taken in the US have reported Iodine-131 levels to be 300% higher than permitted. By choosing nuclear power as an energy option, the Japanese leadership has done incalculable harm to the country and the world and the Japanese people are going to pay with their health and the health of their future generations.

The Japanese accident has forced many countries to rethink their nuclear programs. However, the government of India is hell-bent on pursuing its nuclear power expansion program, including setting up a string of nuclear plants all along India’s coast. The biggest of these is coming up in the earthquake-prone region of Jaitapur, in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra. India’s scientists are making the hilarious claim that India’s safety standards are better than Japan’s and that there is no cause to fear.

The truth is, India’s reactors are considered to be the most inefficient and dangerous in the world. And now we are importing reactors from the notorious French corporation Areva for the Jaitapur nuclear plant. These reactors are so dangerous that even pro-nuclear countries like the USA and UK have refused to give design clearance to this reactor. If there is a major accident at Jaitapur, the entire Ratnagiri district will have to be evacuated, permanently, and entire Western Maharashtra, including Pune and Mumbai would be radioactively contaminated! For tens of thousands of years.

Even if nuclear reactors operate normally, their environmental costs are terrible. The inevitable leakage of radiation from the nuclear reactor and also from the radioactive waste generated by the reactor which has a life of tens of thousands of years will contaminate the soil and water bodies around the plant, and from there, ultimately enter the bodies of human beings. Consequently, people living near the reactors will continue to suffer from cancer and other deathly diseases and children will continue to be born with mental and physical deformities for thousands of years!

The people of Jaitapur area of Konkan are waging a determined struggle against the Areva nuclear plant. The government has unleashed savage repression to crush their struggle. It has resorted to lathi-charges, beatings, indiscriminate arrests, registering of false cases against hundreds of men and women. Leading activists of the area have been issued externment notices from Ratnagiri district. Eminent citizens from the region who have supported the struggle have been barred from entering the district.

To support the struggle of the people of this area, who are fighting to defend their livelihoods and environment and the health of their coming generations, who are actually fighting to save Konkan, the Kashmir of Maharashtra, from permanent destruction; and to register our protest against government plans to set up a series of nuclear plants across the country as a solution to the country’s energy crisis;

We, the citizens of India, are taking out this Yatra from Tarapur, the site of India’s oldest nuclear reactor, to Jaitapur. We demand of the government of India:

– Scrap the Jaitapur nuclear power project! Scrap all new nuclear power plants!!
– End the reign of terror in Jaitapur area!
– Invest massively in energy saving and development of renewable technologies!

The Yatra Route

April 23, Saturday: Tarapur (Panchmarg Public Meeting: 10 am – 12 noon) via Bhiwandi, Thane (Public Meeting: 5 pm to 7 pm) to Panvel

April 24, Sunday: Panvel via Pen, Mangaon to Chiplun (Public Meeting: 6 pm)

April 25, Monday: Chiplun via Ratnagiri (Padyatra: 11 am to 12 noon) to Sakhri Nate (Public Meeting: 2.30 pm to 3.30 pm) to Madban (Public Meeting: 4.30 pm to 6 pm)

Participating Individuals and Organisations

Amarnath Bhai (former Chairperson, Sarva Seva Sangh, Delhi), Justice Prof. Jagmohan Singh (retd., Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana and nephew of Shahid Bhagat Singh), Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, Admiral L. Ramdas, Ashok Rao (President, National Confederation of Officers Associations of Central Public Sector Undertakings), Anand Patwardhan (documentary-maker, Mumbai), Dunu Roy (environmentalist, Delhi), Suma Josson (documentary-maker, Mumbai), Satinath Sarangi (leader of Bhopal gas tragedy victims, Bhopal), Dr. S. P. Udaykumar (convenor, NAAM, and activist of Kudankulam anti-nuclear struggle), Soumya Dutta (scientist, Delhi), Aseem Srivastava (economist, Delhi), Prof. Rajendra Kumbhar (Kolhapur), Sandip Singh (President, Jawaharlal Nehru Students Union, Delhi), Mohd. Salim (President, Revolutionary Youth Association), Dr. V. N. Sharma (Members, Secretariat, All India Forum for Right To Education), Pradeep Datta (Anti-nuclear Forum, Kolkata), Sandeep (Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samiti, Kolkata), H. S. Ram (Karnataka Rayath Sangh, Bangalore), Krishna Kant (activist, Mithivirdi anti-nuclear struggle, Gujarat), Yashwir Arya (activist, Gorakhpur anti-nuclear struggle, Haryana), Manoj Tyagi, Dr. Mithilesh Dangi & Vivekananda Mathane (Azadi Bachao Andolan), Muthukrishnan (journalist, Madurai), Shripad Dharmadhikari (Manthan, Pune), Prof. Vrijendra (Mumbai), Ramkrishna Tandel (National Fishworkers Forum, Maharashtra), Uday Bhatt and Medha Thatte (Lal Nishan Party, Leninist, Mumbai), Jyoti Punwani (journalist, Mumbai), Upasana Choudhary (environmental activist, Delhi), Arati Choksy (Bangalore), Rajan Raje (Trade Union leader, Thane, Maharashtra), Shankar Sharma (consultant to electricity industry, Shimoga, Karnataka), Justice P. B. Sawant (former Supreme Court Judge, Pune), Justice B. G. Kolse Patil (former Bombay High Court Judge, Pune), Dr. Sulabha Brahme (Pune), Vaishali Patil (Konkan Vinashkari Prakalp Virodhi Samiti, Pen, Maharashtra), Sanober Kishwar (Muktiyaan, Mumbai), Arun Velaskar (Konkan Bachao Samiti, Mumbai), Neeraj Jain (Lokayat, Pune) and many others.

National Coordination Committee for Yatra

Radha Bhatt (Chairperson, Sarva Seva Sangh, Delhi)
Dr. Banwarilal Sharma (National Convenor, Azadi Bachao Andolan)
Vandana Shiva (internationally renowned environmentalist, Delhi)
Praful Bidwai (Renowned journalist, Delhi)
Bhai Vaidya (former Minister of State for Home Affairs, Maharashtra)
Dr. Anil Sadgopal (Renowned educationist, Bhopal)