Update from Koodankulam anti-NPP Struggle

March 25, 2012

Open letter by the National Fishworkers Forum to the PM on Koodankulam

We write to you, from all the coastal states of India, to express the fishworker community’s anger over the decision of your government to forcefully go ahead with the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, which is being set up in Idindakarai, Tamil Nadu. We would like to remind you that this project is not something that has been evolved with the consent of the affected populations and smacks of absolute colonial attitude of a dictatorial regime, which does not care for the opinion of the subjects.

We also write to you to communicate our abject disappointment over your statement regarding the fisher people of Idindakarai. In an interview published by the Science magazine on 24 February 2012, you alleged that the fisher community’s protest against the nuclear power plant in Kudankulam was propagated and funded by anti-national interests through international NGOs. A statement such as this from the highest political authority in the country, while being far from the truth, shows the fisher community in poor light.

The fish workers make earnest living and are a self sufficient community. Our earnings, which are well above the minimum wages set by the state governments, are adequate to support our lives and ideals. In your eagerness to defend the proposed nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu, you have attacked the dignity of the fisher people.

The fisher people of Idindakarai have come together to raise genuine fears and reservations regarding the proposed nuclear power plant. Tens of thousands of people, including the fisher community, have contributed small amounts of money towards this struggle and they have been absolutely transparent about their income and expenses. It is a pity that our Prime Minister has chosen to ignore that neither does a hunger strike by common people depend on financial support and nor does it require big finance from foreign groups.

A high powered committee of experts was appointed to ‘allay the fears’ of our people, taking it for granted that people’s fears were totally misplaced. On the contrary, your wisdom will agree that you or the expert panel have no solution if a Fukushima-like situation were to arise on our coast and sea!

A suggestion that our people’s well-meaning protest is merely the result of instigation by ‘foreign’ NGOs is both demeaning and humiliating. Carrying forward your statement, media reports make out as if the fisher people of Kudankulam lack the intelligence to decide over such fundamental issues, for themselves.

The three separate incidents of death of fishermen in Kerala, & Tamil Nadu (due to attack by international big vessels) within the last month have placed the lives and livelihoods of the fisher community at stake. It is extremely worrying that, apart from remaining silent over such critical issues of citizens’ life and livelihood, the Prime Minister has chosen to target the fisher community of Idindakarai in the statement over their opposition to Kudankulam nuclear power plant.

We ask that you to retract the above mentioned statement and apologise to the more than millions of fisher people of this country. We also demand that the undemocratically evolved Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant proposal be shelved, keeping in mind the interest of the affected people and the security of our country and citizens. No exaggerated figures of power production will be enough to compensate for the loss of lives and livelihood of our people.

Sincerely,

MATANHY SALDANHA (Chairperson, NFF)
R. K. PATIL (General Secretary, NFF)
T. Peter, Vasudev Boloor & Pradip Chatterjee (Secretaries, National Fishworkers’ Forum)
Agnelo Rodrigues, (Goenchea Ramponkarancho Ekvott, Goa)
Bharat Patel, (Machimar Adhikar Kruti Samiti, Gujarat)
Debasis Shyamal, (Dakshinbanga Matsyajeebi Forum, West Bengal)
Dr.R.V.Kumaravelu, (Vangakadal Meen Thozhilalar Sangam, Tamil Nadu)
K Alaya, (Odisha Traditional Fishworkers’ Union, Odisha)
Narendra Patil, (Maharashtra Machchimar Kruti Samiti, Maharashtra)
Peter Dass, (Tamil Nadu Fishworkers’ Union, Tamil Nadu)
PP John, (Kerala Swatantra Matsya Thozhilali Federation, Kerala)
T K Rahiman, (Traditional Fish Workers’ Union, Andhra Pradesh)

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Joint Statement of Writers, Artists and Journalists Against the Nuclear Plant

As several thousand people were protesting peacefully against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) for the last three months, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa wrote to the Union Government requesting that the nuclear plant need not be commissioned until the peoples’ fears and misgivings were allayed. Moreover, she promised the agitating people that she would be among them on the Koodankulam issue. We are extremely disappointed by the State Government’s action of sending thousands of police to that area and taking steps to ensure the functioning of the nuclear plant just a day after the completion of the Sankarankovil by-election. Because no steps have been taken to allay the people’s fears and nobody responsible for allaying the people’s fears has met them so far, we, writers and journalists condemn this act of the Tamil Nadu government.

We also strongly condemn the State Government’s act of isolating the agitating fisher-people who live in the coastal areas by cutting access to their villages from the mainland. We further strongly condemn the efforts of the State Government in using its armed power to silence a non-violent struggle, and its striving to quash the anti-nuclear protests by isolating the people from other sections of society and through violence. On the basis that it is the duty of every writer and artist to pay immediate attention to an issue that will gravely affect our state and our people for several generations, we wish to place our opinion before the general public and particularly, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister through this statement. The wrongful notion that the Koodankulam Nuclear Plant will solve the problem of shortage of power in Tamil Nadu is being propagated. This is not the truth. We should take up alternative methods of solving our electricity crisis. To seek nuclear power is like jumping from the frying pan into the fire. Several research studies point out that merely replacing ordinary filament bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) light bulbs will save 500 megawatt of power. Looking at this with foresight, even reducing by half the forty percent of power that is lost during transmission, we would not require fresh generation of electricity. There are also other renewable sources of energy like sunlight and wind power. In order to facilitate taking up such projects, the people there requested the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu to meet the protestors. It is disappointing to observe that the Tamil Nadu government has decided to commission the nuclear power plant once the Central Government-appointed Committee submitted a report in favour of the nuclear plant as part of a well-orchestrated plan.

Nuclear power is a danger capable of harming several generations, and it derives from a technology that is yet to be solved by human beings. Statistics have also proved that compared to the huge costs taken to establish a nuclear plant, it provides only a minimum amount of electricity. Therefore it is our opinion that we do not need nuclear plants which are going to cause trouble to our future generations. It is our request that the existing nuclear plants are also shut down gradually. In the last fifty years, several intellectuals in India and abroad have testified several facts in support of our opinion.

In these circumstances, we request the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu to take an immediate decision against establishing nuclear power plants in our state similar to the decisions taken by the Governments of Kerala and West Bengal several years ago. We request her to save the people of Koodankulam who are caught on the verge of destruction by taking into mind the great tragedies that have taken place all over the world because of nuclear reactors. We also request the Chief Minister to pull back the police heaped in the Kudankulam area and we request her to directly meet the people immediately.

Organising Committee:

journalist -Arul Ezhilan, writer- Chandra, Cartoonist Bala,journalist- kavin malar

Writers:

Indira Parthasarathy, Prabanjan, Ponneelan, Nanjil Nadan, Pa.Jeyapirakasam, Gnani, Konangki, Ambai, Bama, S. Ramakrishnan, A.Marx, Bhaskar Sakthi, Yuma vasuki, Azhagiya periyavan, Ajayan Bala, A.Muthukrishnan, Kurumbanai Berlin, Chandra, Yuvabharati manikandan, Stain rajangam, Yazhini munusamy, Suba kunarajan Muruga boopathy, manal makudi nadaga kuzhu, Lakshmi saravanakumar, Aloor shanavas, Cyril Alex, Boutha Ayyanar, Muthu Meenal, Poovalagu Sundarrajan, Thi Ka Sivasankaran, Tho.Paramasivan, Lena. Kumar, Kottravai, Vishnupuram Saravanan, Meena Kandasamy, Living Smile Vidya, Pamaran, Parveen Sultana, Bharathi Krishnakumar, Prema revathi

Poets:

Ingulaab, Arivumathi, Malathi Maithri, Kutti Resvathi, Kalapriya. Sukirtharani, Yaazhan Athi, Manushyaputhran, Thamarai, Yugabharati, Devadevan, Shankara rama subramaniyan, Jeyabaskaran, Selma Priyadarshan, Veli Rangarajan, sa. Vijayalakshmi, Thi Parameshwari, Yavanika Sriram, Vasumitra, Nesamitran, Jamalan Jahir Hussain, Aranga mallika, Inquilab, yamuna rajendran

Film personalities

Directors :

Ameer, Jananathan, Ram, Seenu ramasamy, Senthamizhan, R. R. Srinivasan, R. P. Amudhan

Journalists:

Babu jeyakumar, A.Tha. Balasubramaniyan, Barathi Thambi, Rajumurugan, Arul Ezhilan, Cartoonist Bala, Punitha Pandian, Balachandran, Balabharathi, Tamilkkanal, Kavitha Muralidharan, Muralidharan, R. Bhagat Singh, Tiruvannamalai Raja, Priya Thambi, Suguna Diwakar, Sundhra puththan, Yuva krishna, N. Vinod Kumar, Athisha, Kavin Malar, Aaraa, N. Asokan, Jeyarani, Thalavai Sundaram, Mahalingam Ponnusami, Arul Chezian, M.P.Udhaya suriyan, Neeya Naana Antony, Keetru Ramesh, Kavitha sornavalli

Artists:

Trotsky Marudhu, Veera Santhanam, Rohini Mani, Mani Varma, Mugilan, Chandru, Natraj, Aras, Thamizharasu, Pugazhendhi, Venkat, Amirthalingam, Balaji, Shyam, Hasifkhan

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Koodankulam Update
March 20, 2012, 7:30 AM

Police have arrested 18 men more at Koodankulam last night but nothing happened here at Idinthakarai at night. Some 5,000 women, men and children slept around St. Lourdes Church. Some 185 men and women and their Parish Priest Fr. Suseelan were arrested at Koottapuli village when they sat down by the side of the road protesting against the police peacefully. They are being held at Tirunelveli armed reserve camp. The other group of 9 people including our Struggle Committee members Adv. Sivasubramanian and Rajalingom, arrested yesterday and now charged with sedition including Sections 121, 121A and 153A, has been taken to Tirunelveli also and we do not know where they are being held. In the meantime, Muhilan, another leading activist of PMANE was arrested on his way to Idinthakarai and he is kept at the police headquarters in Tirunelveli. Police have clamped down Section 144 in our area prohibiting people from congregating in any manner. So no one can walk or move around. Despite this curfew, people keep coming to Idinthakarai by boats and on foot. There is an unprecedented deployment of police around Koodankulam and it is highly condemnable that the police are harassing the peaceful protesters to this extent. Some 15 of us (8 men and 7 women) including Pushparayan and myself are on indefinite hunger strike here at Idinthakarai demanding:

[1] the immediate release of our comrades,
[2] the withdrawal of the Tamil Nadu cabinet resolution,
[3] a thorough and complete probe of geologists, hydrologists and oceanographers into the safety issues of the Koodankulam nuclear power plant,
[4] release of the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) signed secretly by the governments of India and Russia on liability in February 2008, and
[5] conduct safety drills and evacuation drills in the 30-km radius of the Koodankulam project.

There could be public health problems and food shortage in a few days here at Idinthakarai. We appeal to the people of Tamil Nadu to be aware of this assault on the Tamil community. We appeal to the people of India to be mindful of impending nuclear nightmares in our highly and densely populated country such as ours. We appeal to the people of the world to keep a watchful eye on the forceful implementation of a mega-nuclear project on our people without giving us any basic information about the project or conducting any public hearing. They are preparing to load uranium fuel rods into the reactor without conducting any safety or evacuation drills. This kind of Fascist development is taking our country to another round of New East India Companies and Neo-colonialism. God Save India!

Please do everything you possibly can to condemn this police harassment and nuclear madness and to express your solidarity.

Struggle Committee People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy

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Koodankulam Update and Alert
March 19, 2012, 12:30 PM

Just in: Some 10 people including Struggle Committee members Adv. S. Sivasubramanian, Rajalingom from Koodankulam have been arrested.

The Tamil Nadu State government is increasing the police strength in front of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP). Heavy police force has been posted in a few major junctions around Koodankulam. The ADGP (Additional Director General of Police) three DIGs (Deputy Inspector Generals) and ten SPs (Superintendents of Police) are present at Koodankulam. The Tirunelveli District Collector has been inviting us (specifically five people, S.P. Udayakumar, M. Pushparayan, M.P. Jesuraj, S. Sivasubramanian, and Fr. F. Jayakumar) since last evening to get some clarifications on the petition we had given to the Chief Minister on February 29, 2012. We pointed out that only our experts could answer those questions. It is pertinent to note that no attempt has been made so far to talk to them by the central or state governments or the expert teams constituted by these governments. In the meantime, the State government’s cabinet is meeting at 12:30 PM and they are expected to announce their stand on the KKNPP issue.

There are rumors that we all could be arrested soon and they may decide to re-start the KKNPP. WE ARE READY! We have a few specific issues we want you to know about though:

[1] The Government of India, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL), and the KKNPP have not conducted any emergency preparation drills or evacuation exercises to prepare the people within 30 km radius for any possible nuclear disasters. If these authorities try to load nuclear fuel rods without doing these mandatory exercises, it would be deemed illegal by India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) rules, IAEA’s and other international stipulations. These authorities should reveal to the world the complete and exhaustive details of these exercises if they had conducted them. The date, time, place, location, and the names of the participants of all these exercises should be revealed by these authorities in concurrence with the District Collector of Tirunelveli.

[2] The Government of India and the State Government of Tamil Nadu should consult our experts and study their findings with the help of Indian and international experts if they care for the lives of Indian citizens and not for the profits of Russian corporations.

[3] If the KKNPP reactors are the best in the whole world, why doesn’t Russia want to give any liability to the people? Why do they sign a secretive IGA (Inter-Governmental Agreement) with the Government of India and hide behind such moves and avoid the whole issue of liability?

The tension is increasing; the government are acting in a high-handed manner. Please keep an eye on us.
S. P. Udayakumar
People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy

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PEOPLE’S UNION FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES- TAMIL NADU AND PUDUCHERRY

PUCL, TAMIL NADU-PUDUCHERRY strongly condemns the arbitrary and illegal exercise of police repression by the Tamil Nadu State Government against peacefully demonstrating local protestors in Koodankulam today, 19.3.2012. What exposes the deceitful move of the State Government is the fact that the State Government which had been conducting discussions with the protesting villagers, did not even bother to inform the public about its final decision ; while so, the Tamil Nadu State Government moved in more than 5,000 armed police early this morning encircling Idinthakrai and neighbouring villages. The operation resembled a military action of `encirclement and suppression’ and was wholly an unnecessary show of police might against peaceful, unarmed demonstrators.

The Police action against idinthakrai villagers resembles the Jalianwalabagh incident and raises concern about the true intention of the State Government’s action coming immediately after the Sankarankovil bye-elections. The least the State Government could have done is to take the Koodankulam and Idinthakarai villagers into confidence and engage in democratic discussions. Such Police action is wholly unwarranted and is meant to intimidate local villagers and citizens.

We condemn the State Government’s dishonest police crackdown as an act of democratic betrayal without parallel.

We condemn the illegal arrest of villagers as also the arrest of Sivasubramaniam, Advocate and Rajalingam at the struggle committee office which was set up near the plant with the concurrence and approval of the District Collector and the State government aothers. PUCL demands immediate and unconditional release of all arrested villagers. PUCL also demands immediate withdrawal of Police force from the area. PUCL also calls upon the state government to resume dialogue with the villagers and desist from using force and unleashing repression.

With Regards,

(Dr. V. Suresh)

National Secretary

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To: The Chief Minister of Tamilnadu

To: The Media

Dear Ms. Chief Minister:

It is with profound sadness and anxiety that we read your press statement and witnessed the large scale mobilisation of police in the areas around the Idinthakarai protest site and the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant. The decision to give the go-ahead to the power plant is ill-informed and has created a dangerously volatile situation. We, the below-signed, condemn the deployment of thousands of armed policemen in an area where people have been peacefully protesting for six months. Knowing the resolve of the agitating communities, the Government’s hard-line stance and police posturing can only lead to a nuclear Nandigram.

The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s claim that the Expert Committees have addressed all concerns raised by the protestors is contrary to fact. Numerous issues such as the lack of back-up water supply, the fate of the desalination plants in the event of seawater recession, the quantum and fate of nuclear wastes and the sub-lethal effects of thermal pollution on marine biodiversity are only a few of the issues that remain wholly unaddressed by the Committees. Information relating to the arrangements made between the Governments of India and Russia relating to liability in the event of a nuclear disaster have been withheld.

Commissioning the plant at this stage without having conducted the statutorily required emergency drills is a clear indication of the lack of safety culture, and the insincerity of the declarations that the plant is safe.

It is unfortunate that the Government is making it seem as if commissioning Koodankulam will bail the state out of its electricity crisis. it is a fact that if at all commissioned, the 1000 MW plant is unlikely to yield more than 250 MW.

By okaying the nuclear power plant, the Tamil Nadu Government has lost an important opportunity to take the state on a path of environmental sustainability and social justice.

We are very concerned for the safety and well-being of our brothers and sisters in Idinthakarai, and expect that the Government of Tamilnadu will not use force and strength to push the project down the throats of unwilling communities.

Sincerely,

Sukla Sen, CNDP, Mumbai
Praful Bidwai, Columnist, New Delhi
G. Sundar Rajan, Chennai
Karuna Raina, Greenpeace, Bangalore
Muthukrishnan, Madurai
Nityanand Jayaraman, writer, Chennai

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OPEN LETTER TO PRIME MINISTER AGAINST THE WITCH HUNT IN KOODAMKULAM

March 2 2012

Mr. Prime Minister,

We are shocked to read your interview in Science Magazine on Feb. 24, 2012. While drawing attention to India as a democracy, you have failed to respond to the legitimate and widespread democratic concerns of citizens on issues of genetically modified foods, and India’s aggressive nuclear expansionist policies. To sideline serious concerns over the safety and merits of both these programs as merely vested by funds from outside, is incorrect, and does not befit a person in your office. One might cast similar aspersions on the many ‘partnerships’ entered by Government of India with foreign nations, which might not be considered by all to benefit our nation.

We ask Government of India to respond to safety concerns posed by the independent expert committee report on Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP). Besides these particular safety issues with the KNPP project, there are also high health risks associated with radiation exposures for communities living around any nuclear plant. Two studies carried out in Germany and more recently in France show a spike in incidence of leukemia in children around nuclear power plants – a result that should not be taken lightly.

In any democracy, the voice of opposition or dissent – if heard and responded to seriously, strengthens the democratic process and yields solutions that are more representative of people’s needs and concerns. Yet, you have dismissed all opposition to your individual vision for the nation as effectively ‘non-thinking’.

India is at a serious crossroad – to subserve a State-Corporate nexus by siphoning off all national resources with processes such as SEZs, commodification of water, industrial energy subsidies, encouraging GM of our food security and promoting FDIs, or, to reassert the true sovereignty of the citizens of this secular and democratic republic, so that even the highest appointments of the State must first represent and serve people’s interest.

We ask that you do not resort to potentially slanderous, repressive tactics to gag discussions on nuclear or any other ‘development’ issues using any un-mandated powers of your office, but instead adopt a consultative approach with people of India, to resolve their issues and concerns. While this process may be slow, we must remember that we are not China, as you pointed out in the interview to Science.

Sincerely,
Arati Chokshi (Secretary PUCL, Karnataka)
Ajit Jha (Samajwadi Jan Parishad)
Kiran Shaheen (Media Action Group, Delhi)
P.K. Sunderam (Research Scholar, JNU)
Asit Das (Writer Activist, Delhi)
Rajni Kant Mudgal (Socialist Front, Delhi)
Ranjeet Thakur (Journalist, Uttrakhand)
Rita Kumari (Pravasi Nagarik Manch, Delhi)

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Open Letter from Peoples’ Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)

Dear Sisters and Brothers of India:

Greetings! Please accept our sincere thanks for your keen interest in our struggle and the kind support for our cause. As you know, we, the fisherfolks, farmers, shopkeepers, Dalit workers, beedi-rolling women and others near the southernmost tip of India, have been fighting against the Koodankulam Nuclear power Project (KKNPP) since the late 1980s.

This Russian project was shelved right after the Soviet Union’s collapse and taken up again in 1997. The Indian government and Russians have constructed two huge reactors of 1000 MW each without any consent of or consultation with the local people. We have just obtained the outdated Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report after 23 years of long and hard struggle. The Indian nuclear authorities have not shared any basic information about the project with the public. They do not give complete and truthful answers for our questions on the ‘daily routine emissions’ from these reactors, the amount and management of nuclear waste, fresh water needs, impact of the coolant water on our sea and seafood, decommissioning costs and effects, Russian liability and so forth. We are deeply disturbed by all this.

Our people watched the Fukushima accident of March 11, 2011 on TV at their homes and understood the magnitude and repercussions of a nuclear accident. Right after that on July 1, 2011, the KKNPP announced the ‘hot run’ of the first reactor that made so much noise and smoke. Furthermore, the authorities asked the people, in a mock drill notice, to cover their nose and mouth and run for their life in case of an emergency. As a result of all these, our people in Koodankulam and Idinthakarai villages made up their minds and took to the streets on their own on August 11, 2011. Then we all together decided to host a day-long hunger strike on August 16 at Idinthakarai and a three-day fast on August 17-19 at Koodankulam. On the 17th itself authorities invited us for talks and asked us to postpone our struggle to the first week of September because of the upcoming Hindu and Muslim festivals. In a few days’ time, the chief of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) announced that the first reactor would go critical in September 2011.

So we embarked upon an indefinite hunger strike on September 11, 2011 and our women blocked a state road on September 13 for a few hours when the state and central governments continued to ignore us. The state Chief Minister invited us for talks on September 21 and passed a cabinet resolution the next day asking the central government to halt all the work until the fears and concerns of the local people were allayed. We ended our hunger strike on the 22nd but went on another round of indefinite hunger strike from October 9 to 16 when the talks with the Indian Prime Minister failed. We laid siege in front of the KKNPP on October 13-16, 2011 when the KKNPP authorities did not halt work at the site as per the Tamil Nadu state cabinet resolution. We ended both the indefinite hunger strike and the siege on October 16 in order for our people to participate in the local body elections on the 17th. From October 18, 2011, we have been on a relay hunger strike continuously (134th day today). We have been carrying out massive rallies, village campaigns, public meetings, seminars, conferences, and other demonstrations such as shaving our heads, cooking on the street, burning the models of the nuclear plants etc. This struggle has been going on for the past 197 days and the morale of the people is still very very high.

There is no foreign country or agency or money involved in this classic people’s struggle to defend our right to life and livelihood. Our fishermen, farmers, workers and women make small voluntary donations in cash and kind to sustain our simple Gandhian struggle. Our needs are very few and expenses much less. We only provide safe drinking water to the hunger strikers and visitors. People from all over Tamil Nadu (and sometimes from other parts of India) come on their own arranging their own transportation. For our own occasional travel, we hire local taxis.

Instead of understanding the people’s genuine feelings and fulfilling our demands, the government has foisted serious cases of ‘sedition’ and ‘waging war on the Indian state’ on the leaders of our movement. There are as many as 180-200 cases on us. There have been police harassment, intelligence officers’ stalking, concocted news reports in the pro-government media, abuse of our family members, hate mail, death threats and even physical attack.

Although India is a democracy, our Delhi government has been keen on safeguarding the interests of the MNCs and pleasing some powerful countries such as the United States, Russia, France etc. The welfare of the ‘ordinary citizens’ of India does not figure on their list of priorities. The central government and the ruling Congress party stand by the secretive nuclear agreements they have made with all different countries and consider us as stumbling blocks on their road to development. The main opposition party, Bharatiya Janata Party (Hindu nationalist party) is interested in the nuclear weapons program and making India a superpower and hence loves everything nuclear. It is ironic that these two corrupt and communal forces join hands with each other against their own people. They bend backwards to please their American and other bosses but question our integrity and nationalist credentials.

Our leaders and the group of 15 women were physically attacked on January 31, 2012 at Tirunelveli by the Congress thugs and Hindutva Fascists when we had gone for talks with the central government expert team. Now the government cuts electricity supply so often and so indiscriminately in order to drive home the message that nuclear power plant is needed for additional power. They try to create resentment and opposition among the public against our anti-nuclear struggle.

To put it all in a nutshell, this is a classic David-Goliath fight between the ‘ordinary citizens’ of India and the powerful Indian government supported by the rich Indian capitalists, MNCs, imperial powers and the global nuclear mafia. They promise FDI, nuclear power, development, atom bombs, security and superpower status. We demand risk-free electricity, disease-free life, unpolluted natural resources, sustainable development and harmless future. They say the Russian nuclear power plants are safe and can withstand earthquakes and tsunamis. But we worry about their side-effects and after-effects. They speak for their scientist friends and business partners and have their eyes on commissions and kickbacks. But we fight for our children and grandchildren, our progeny, our animals and birds, our land, water, sea, air and the skies.

Please keep us on your prayers/meditations/thoughts/conversations and keep an eye on the developments here in the southernmost tip of India. You can write to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Ms. J. Jayalalitha requesting her to stop this dangerous project. You could also write to our Prime Minister not to drag India in the opposite direction when the whole world is going the ‘beyond thermal and nuclear’ route. Thanking you once again, we send you our best personal regards and all peaceful wishes.

Cordially,

S. P. Udayakumar, M. Pushparayan, Fr. M.P. Jesuraj, S. Sivasubramanian, Fr. F. Jayakumar and others.

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Statement by Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace

February 28, 2012

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in an interview to the American journal ‘Science’ published on this Friday said, “The atomic energy programme has got into difficulties because these NGOs mostly, I think, based in the US, don’t appreciate the need for our country to increase energy. The local NGO-led protests have stalled the commissioning of two 1000 mw nuclear reactors.”

This is in fact very much in tune with the propaganda barrage launched by the Union Government against the determined popular struggle against the ongoing Koodankulam nuclear power plant.

The Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP) strongly condemns such baseless and malicious allegation as regards foreign hands behind the Koodankulam struggle without caring to produce even the faintest shred of evidence and ask the prime Minister either to substantiate his allegation or publicly apologise.

For CNDP

Achin Vanaik
Admiral L Ramdas
Anil Chaudhary
Amarjeet Kaur
Praful Bidwai
N D Jayaprakash
Sukla Sen

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Statements regarding attack on Anti-Koodankulam Nuclear Plant Agitation Leaders and Women Supporters

February 3, 2012

Statement from Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace

On their way to attend talks with the Central Government Expert Panel, a group of activists agitating against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project in Tamil Nadu were attacked by a violent group. The miscreants are believed to be supporters of the local Hindu Munnani group. 20 women accompanying M. Pushparayan and Jesuraj, the representatives of People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) in the dialogue with the Central Government’s expert committee were beaten badly and are hospitalized.

We condemn this heinous act in strongest terms and demand that the violent miscreants should be brought to book.

It is extremely unfortunate that the establishment is seen indulging in intimidating and violent tactics against people who are struggling to safeguard their lives and livelihoods. The talk between the Central Government and the protesters is at the fourth round. While the Central Government has declined to adequately answer the questions raised by PMANE and even to share the documents requested by it, it has resorted to religious profiling, intimidation, and now open mob-violence against the protesters. The movement in Koodankulam has been entirely nonviolent and has maturely denied any pretext to the Central Government for repression. The recent incident is being seen as incitement for violence. a section of the media supporting the Central Govt’s stand on the nuclear power plant has recently indulged in similar incitement by publishing mobile number and contact details of leading activists, along with a malicious article with baseless hate-mongering against them.

We demand that this direct and indirect arm-twisting should be immediately stopped. People are agitating against nuclear power projects in several other parts of the country and accusing them of being foreign-funded and religion-backed is simply malicious and defamatory. We reiterate our demand that the Central Government should go for an open and broad-based national consultation on nuclear energy before going for such a massive expansion.

Achin Vanaik
Admiral L Ramdas
Anil Chaudhary
Amarjeet Kaur
Praful Bidwai
N D Jayaprakash
Sukla Sen

( For CNDP)

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Statement Issued By Koodankulam Anti Nuclear Protest Support Group – Kerala

Jan 31st 2012 : The representatives of Peoples Movement Against Nuclear Energy (spearheading the campaign to stop the Koodankulam Nuclear Plant ) Pushparayan and Jesuraj and 20 women accompanying them has been attacked by Goondas (hired thugs) inside Tirunelveli Collecotrate compound on their way to attend talks with the Central Government Expert Panel. The women who tried to offer shield to the PMANE representatives have been beaten up and they are in hospital now. Along with the goondas were local Congress leaders also. The police were mute spectators when the attack happened, even after the PMANE representatives had earlier informed the police about the presence of these Congress personnels and goondas. It is interesting to note that the Central Government Panel has failed to answer most of the questions raised by the movements’ own panel and whatever answers given were all unsatisfactory. Moreover the central panel and central government has also refused to meet the movements expert panel and have an open discussion. All this while the Koodankulam Anti Nuclear protest has stood out as a symbol of non-violent protest with non violent action happening from the movement. This move of attacking movement leaders is a strategy of trying to create tension and turn the movement violent. The movement has withdrwan from the talks after the incident which gave clear indications of central governments back door working. Protests are happening in Tirunelveli and other southern Tamilnadu districts condemning the attacks.

The context of the attack and the talks

This was the fourth round of talks and there have been no indications of the Central Government paying any heed to the concerns raised by PMANE and the people. The fourth round of talks have been happening after a long gap with the previous 3 happening on November 7th and 18th and December 15th. Between December 15th and now the central government has resorted to bullying tactics of filing cases, foreign fund allegations, agressive media campaigns providing money to main stream media etc… In the mean time Manmohan Sigh went to Russia and issued a statement on Dcember 16th that the plant will be commissioned in two weeks time. He visited Tamil Nadu in December end and is said to have struck a deal with the state government on the Koodankulam Issue. The minster of state at the Prime Ministers office has been issuing statemens that the plant will become operational with state government assistance soon. Indication on this regard has been given by representatives of Nuclear Power Corporation India Limited as well. Along with all this Congress has been staging various protests demanding for the opening of the Koodankulam Plant. Meanwhile the protests by the locals in and around Koodankulam and in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu have not subsided at all. Pushparayan and Jesuraj are the two representatives from the movement who are part of the state panel interacting with the Central Government Panel set up to address the concerns of the people and prove that the plant has no impact on local environment, livelihood, health and is safe in all aspects.