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Kudankulam Updates

March 25, 2012

Below is the latest update from Kudankulam.

Click here for the Letter from the National Fishworkers Forum to the Prime Minister.

Further below is a press statement released on 23/03/2012 about the arbitrary arrests, illegal detention and custodial torture of three activists whose politicl affiliations are being wrongly read on to the Kudankulam struggle in order to take focus way from the issues in question and malign the people’s struggle that continues.

KOODANKULAM – PMANE UPDATE – 25.03.2012

Dear Friends:

Greetings! Pushparayan, the other 13 friends and I have become weaker and tired; but we are still able to sit up and talk to people. Today is the seventh day of the indefinite hunger strike. Nobody from the State Government or the Central Government has bothered to come and see us or talk to us. A medical team came to check our health day before yesterday (March 23) but no public health officials came and offered any help even though some 10,000 people have been congregating here at Idinthakarai every day since March 19th. Our friends from Idinthakarai have been cooking some simple meals for all these people and most of the people are sleeping here as there is the prohibitory order of 144 still in effect. They are scared of going out of this foot-ball stadium sized space in front of the St. Lourdes church. The police are waiting for me and Pushparayan to collapse so that we would go to an hospital for treatment and they could arrest us there. How cruel and anti-people our governments could become!

In the meantime, the Tamil Nadu government has convened a meeting of some 13 Panchayat (local body) leaders to plan to distribute the 500-crore package the government has announced for the victims of nuclear development. The state police continues its crack down; they tried to arrest three men at Koodankulam and they ll managed to give a slip. The police go to some of the coastal villages and order them to go fishing in order to create a pictue of normalcy in the area. They also ask them not to carry any food by boat to Idinthakarai and threaten them with cases if they did. People defy this kind of intimidatory exercises.

This is a struggle (but ‘war’ in the eyes of our opponents) between rich, famous, powerful, upper-class and upper-caste pro-mega-development folks and poor, unknown, powerless, lower-class and lower-caste pro-sustainable development masses. The governments here work for the profit of Russia and not for the people of India. The governments engaged in massive power cuts over the past few months in order to create a huge hatred against us and opposition to our struggle. Now that they have resumed work at the Koodankulam plant, the officials say they do not know how long it will take for electricity generation. Now people of Tamil Nadu know that Koodankulam is not the answer for our power crisis. The people of Tamil Nadu and India will wake up to many such realities soon with regards to Pechipparai dam water, reprocessing plant at Koodankulam, weapons facilities, atomic bombs etc.

India is a highly- and densely-populated country and even a small mishap at a nuclear facility will create such a havoc and meyham for millions of people and jeopardize the survival and wellbeing of millions and millions of our brothers and sisters. We are not against the progress of our country and state but we feel that such a progress should be longstanding and sustainable for our future generations also. We have no moral authority to poison the resources of our future generations in order to produce electricity for us for 40 years. We say that let India be a world leader with creative and original ideas and programs rather than the slave of Russia, United States and France.

The governments here are taking up a new weapon now and that is our alleged links with Naxalites (Maoists). They are fabricating evidences and concocting conversations to establish that we have connections with Naxal youth and trying to portray us as a violent group. The whole world knows that we have been struggling for the past eight months in a nonviolent manner with absolutely no violence or terror. They will fail as they have in the “foreign hand” and “foreign money” accusations. The governments are desperately trying to provoke our people to prove their theory that “ordinary citizens” of our country do not have a mind of their own; they cannot think for themselves; they cannot stand up for their rights and entitlements in a nonviolent noncooperation campaign; and most importantly, these fishermen, Nadars, Dalits, Muslims, women and children are all dispensable for the growth of the Chennai-based and Delhi-based multi-billionaires. Well, that is the logic of globalization and that is what we vehemently oppose.

People power or nuclear power? Moral power or money/military power? Civil power or State power? Which side you are on? The people of Tamil Nadu, and the people of India, please think of this!

People here and I may die in this hunger strike or in a few years out of old age. But please think of the world, country, state you want to have for yourself and your progeny. That is what human politics is all about. I would leave the golden lines of Martin Niemoller, a German pastor and theologian for you to reflect on:
First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

S. P. Udayakumar
Idinthakarai
March 25, 2012
P.S.: If you would like to speak to the Tamil Nadu Government on behalf of us, please feel free to use the following contact coordinates:
FAX TO CHIEF MINISTER; 044-25676929,
FAX TO CM OFFICE; 044 25671441
FAX TO CHIEF SECRETARY: 044 – 25672304
FAX TO CHIEF SECRETARY: 044 – 26247227
EMAIL: cmcell@tn.nic.incmcell@tn.gov.in

Press statement on Arbitrary Arrests of Anti-Kudangulam Protesters

Issued by Citizens for Civil Rights, Chennai

 We would like to call attention to a news item that appeared in The Hindu, dated March 24, 2012. Titled, Youth Leader held on Sedition Charges, the report goes on to speak of Satish alias Satish Kumar (30), State Convenor of Tamilaga Ilaignar Ezuchi Pasarai being held on sedition charges.

We are astonished and shocked at this piece of news. Satish Kumar was indeed arrested on March 23, 2012, but according to information received by his family, he has been charged with Sections 143, 188 and 34 of the IPC, none of which has anything to do with ‘sedition’. Section 143 (Unlawful Assembly), Section 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention), Section 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant).

Satish Kumar was one amongst many hundreds who participated in a rally that was held in Tirunelveli on March 23. Many of the rallyists  including MDMK leader Vaiko and Periyar DK leader Kolathur Mani, were arrested. While the others were released, Satish was not. Contrary to all established procedure he was arrested, kept in an unknown place for several hours and produced before a magistrate around midnight. He was subsequently remanded and lodged in Palayamkottai jail.

The news report however does not state any of this, and instead notes that he was apprehended in the district when he arrived there on Friday. The news report further notes that Satish Kumar is believed to be associated with the agitation against the Kudangulam Nuclear Power Plant. The report also quotes Tirunelveli Deputy Inspector General of Police V Varadaraju as saying that the ‘accused’ was involved in a case pertaining to the training of suspected Maoist cadres in 2002.

We are shocked that the actual details of the arrest are sought to be overwritten by statements that suggest Satish Kumar was engaged in seditious activity. We are particularly concerned that this is not the only instance where those who have protested against the Kudangulam plant are being subject to arbitrary arrests.  Mukilan another anti-Kudankulam protester was arrested some days ago and Vanniarasu who was present at the March 23 rally was arrested subsequent to Satish Kumar’s arrest.

Given the nature of these arrests, we are forced to conclude that the police are engaged in weaving a conspiracy around the three arrested men with the intention of implicating them in false sedition charges. We also strongly condemn these and other attempts to malign and criminalise those who are engaged in a peaceful and legitimate struggle against the Kudangulam Nuclear Plant.

We demand that all three men be immediately released and that the police stop all attempts to malign a legitimate peoples’ struggle.

We look forward to your comments. Comments are subject to moderation as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear.

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