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Kudankulam: Letter from concerned activists in Chennai to Activists and Media persons

March 21, 2012

Dear friends

You must all be aware of the sustained struggle put up by the people of Idinthakarai and other neighbouring villages against the commissioning of the nuclear energy plant at Kudankulam. The struggle has been a concerted one, waged by fishers, agricultural labourers, small peasants and those in the artisanal trades. It has been a struggle for asserting people’s right to livelihood, life and liberty, all of which stand imperiled by the proposed nuclear reactor.
The struggle has now reached a crucial moment of crisis: the ministry of the ruling AIADMK government has passed a resolution asking for the plant to be reopened. This, after several months of promising support to the protesters, and offering to look into radiation effects, on human beings, the coastal environment and on the problem of nuclear waste. 
Following this resolution, the government of Tamil Nadu has rushed a large contingent of police to the area – ostensibly to ensure that work begins at the plant. The forces now stand guard outside the village of Idinthakarai, disallowing movement into and away from the area. Protesters have however been using the sea and the dense water network to join their comrades protesting in Idinthakarai. The press has not been allowed entry, though there is still a flow of information from those with still active mobiles.
However there are other concerns:
1. Food has been completely blocked. Yesterday, they ran out of material for gravy, and they had to take a boat to a nearby village, replenish supplies and return to the village.
2. Idinthakarai has no reliable source of fresh water. On a daily basis, up to 50 lorry loads of water aer required. Water is purchased by families at the rate of Rs. 2.50 per pot. Since March 19, when the announcement was made and police deployed, no water tanker has been allowed to enter the villages, and there is a serious scarcity of water.
3. The local shops have no supplies. Only bananas are available. No cool drinks or any snacks.
4. The medical shop has very limited supplies, and there are no good doctors in the area. Yesterday, one elderly gentleman had some difficulty (details not known), but he was prevented from getting medical access. Another pregnant woman got pains, and the police prevented her from leaving for at least an hour.
There are other worrying developments:
A school run by Meera Kumar, wife of Udaya Kumar who has been coordinating and leading the struggle has been damaged, allegedly by Hindu Munnani vandals. There are also reports of threats to the safety of Udaya Kumar’s family, but these are yet to be confirmed
It is clear that immediately:

- the unannounced blockade to the village must be lifted
- the huge police force withdrawn
- normal services, of food, water, transport etc. to the area restored. 
- the media must be allowed access to the area. 

Please circulate this note widely, especially to local and national media, and also if you can contact the Press Council Of India, asking for the roads to be opened to the free press, and not only to those whetted by the police. 

For further details, you can stay in touch with this email address or contact Nityanand Jayaraman at: 09444082401
Signed:
V. Geetha, Ponni Arasu, A.Mangai, Prema Revathi and others from Chennai. 
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