Tamil Nadu – Anti-Kundanulam Struggle : PMANE Announces Indefinite Hunger Strike from May 1

April 27, 2012

Koodankulam Update, April 23

PMANE Announces Indefinite Hunger Strike from May 1, 2012 at Idinthakarai

The People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) plans to resume indefinite hunger strike from May 1, 2012, International Workers’ Day. When we concluded our earlier hunger strike on March 27, 2012 at the behest of the Madurai Archbishop Most Rev. Peter Fernando and Mr. Arimavalavan’s negotiations with the Tirunelveli district officials at Radhapuram, the authorities had agreed to

· release all our comrades from prisons unconditionally;
· withdraw all the false and foisted cases against tens of thousands of our people including sedition charges;
· institute an independent national committee to study the hydrology, geology and oceanography issues;
· conduct disaster management and evacuation exercises to all the people in 30 km radius from the KKNPP;
· share a copy of the secret IGA between the governments of India and Russia in 2008 on liability;
· divulge all the relevant info about the KKNPP nuclear waste and their management; and
· respect the democratic rights of our people to continue to oppose the KKNPP peacefully and nonviolently.

Almost a month has passed after this negotiation, but no promise has been fulfilled so far. Mugilan and Sathish are still languishing in prison and more cases are said to have been filed against them. More than 56,000 people have been charged with false cases until December 31, 2011 including some 6,000 sedition cases. If we tally the cases that have been filed in the first quarter of 2012, the number must be way too high. This only proves how big our struggle is and how undemocratic and anti-people our governments are.

Even those who have been released on bail are made to sign every day at distant police stations like dangerous criminals and are prevented from going to work. They are all living in poverty and misery.

No step has been taken to withdraw all the false cases that are foisted on us; instead, fresh murder charges are framed against the leaders of the PMANE falsely.

Besides the hydrology, geology, oceanography issues of the KKNPP, we have now to deal with the seismology issue also as the entire state of Tamil Nadu and the eastern coast of India were rocked by powerful tremors and temblors on April 11, 2012. Following the massive earthquake and the aftershocks on that day, there has been another major earthquake in Indonesia on April 20, 2012 night. These issues have to be researched thoroughly and truthfully before opening a major and controversial nuclear project such as the KKNPP in the affected area.

The government authorities and the KKNPP officials are trying to scuttle the whole process of disaster training and evacuation exercises by roping in the cooperation of the local Panchayat presidents and by creating falsified records that such exercises had been done in these Panchayats. The KKNPP administration that never respected the local people and their leaders before are now trying to please these Panchayat presidents with the promised Rs. 500-crore package. Given the recent repeated earthquakes in Indonesia, even people beyond 30-km radius must be given disaster training.

We hear recurrent rumors that there are serious problems in the reactor pressure vessel, and that there is a perennial water spring near the reactor building that plague the KKNPP project and that is why some 18 Russian scientists have been invited urgently to work on the project. The KKNPP officials must tell the people the whole truth about the problems involved in the delay of the project, present a White Paper on the total cost of the project and explain how much public money has been spent on all these recent visits of Russians and other PR exercises.

We earnestly hope that the Government of India and the Government of Tamil Nadu will resume the negotiations with us, fulfill their commitments and avoid the planned indefinite hunger strike. We still hope that these governments work not just for the rich and powerful but are also interested in the wellbeing of the ordinary and unlettered citizens of India.

The Struggle Committee
People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)