Letters from Koodankulam anti-nuclear plant struggle: “We are ready for any brutal police action but will not give up our nonviolent noncooperation campaign”

Idinthakarai Update
March 22, 2012

The situation here is still grim. There are some 10,000 people from coastal and interior villages. Most of them are women including pregnant women and nursing women. I myself saw many nursing women feeding their babied sweetened water as there was no milk coming to the village. More people are coming by boats and on foot as the access roads are all blocked by police. There is no bus service to this place. There is no sanitary complex and women bear the brunt of it. No public health official has ever come to help the people.

Some 15 of us have been on indefinite hunger strike and no medical doctor has ever come here to check our health. The Dinamalam newspaper has reported today that we have all been eating heartily and pretending to be fasting. If this anti-Tamil newspaper can prove that there is a trace of food in my or Pushparayan’s stomach, we are ready to leave this protest. Otherwise, will they stop publishing this stupid paper? We are fighting for a cause not prostituting our soul like the Dinamalam does.

On March 21, my mother had received a phone call from one advocate by the name T. Udayakumar and he claimed he was calling from the DGP office in Chennai. He asked my mother to ask me to leave the protest so that all the cases against me would be dropped and I would get whatever I ask for. My mother told him that I was not a man of that nature and ended the conversation. That evening the Superintendent of Police of Tirunelveli District called me on my mobile and asked me to surrender alone so that people would not be affected. I told him that I was all ready for that but the people here at Idinthakarai also wanted to get arrested along with me and they would not let me go alone. I proposed to the SP to send enough number of buses and two police officers so that there would not be any stampede or tussle and we all would board the buses peacefully and go wherever they wanted us to go. He would not accept that proposition and said in anger: “This is the last time I talk to you.” There ended our conversation.

That night the police officer who was on security duty at our SACCER Matriculation School outside Nagercoil town had received a phone call from the Kanyakumari District SP office to go away from the school. Then a group of vandals, obviously with the blessings of the police, had entered the school and destroyed it very badly. The compound wall was completely demolished and the gate damaged. They ransacked the school bus after tearing down the car shed’s iron shutters. They had entered the KG classrooms and destroyed all the small little chairs which my children were using to sit on. They had broken all the tables and chairs and I do not understand why they punished my little children like this. The vandals had entered our school library and destroyed all the 12 glass bookshelves and tables and threw away the books. My 250 children are all avid readers and have been using our library extensively. This reminds me of the burning of the Public Library at Jaffna a few years ago.

The governments and the police treat and speak of me as if I were Osama bin Laden and our people some mindless terrorists. We resent this inhuman and brutal treatment . Electricity, water, milk and other essentials have been cut for two days; people cannot go out of and come into Idinthakarai as there is brutal police control. We are surrounded by police and I truly feel like I am at Mullivaickal. We are a group of simple people who have been fighting nonviolently and democratically against an untested foreign reactor with all kinds of problems and hiccups. We have not done any harm to anybody or anybody’s property in our eight-month long struggle. The whole country is proud of our people.

The stalemate continues. There are protests happening all over the country and the state of Tamil Nadu. Whoever is farsighted enough to worry about the future of India’s “ordinary citizens,” our natural resources, the well-being of our progeny, the possibility of losing our freedom to the New Nuclear East India Companies and most importantly, the democratic fabric of our country support us. We thank them and you for standing with us. We are ready for any brutal police action but will not give up our nonviolent noncooperation campaign.

S. P. Udayakumar
People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy


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


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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