Take action: Tell Indian officials to leave the protesters alone and to stop Kudankulam!
September 11, 2012 Update. Following yesterday's police violence which resulted in the death of one protestor and the hospitalization of dozens of others, protest leader S.P. Udayakumar says he will turn himself in to today in bid to avert more police violence. Sept 12 update: Apparently protestors convinced Dr. Udayakumar not to turn himself in. He could be falsely charged with treason and some 100 other charges. New press release below.
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Dr. S.P. Udayakumar (Kumar to his friends) is a longtime leader in the peaceful resistance to nuclear power in India, as well as a leader in the NIRS/WISE international network. The Indian government has threatened to charge him with terrorism and "waging war" for his role in leading the nonviolent citizens movement against operation of the nearly-completed Kudankulam nuclear reactors in the Tamil Nadu section of India.
He is currently with 10,000 other people protesting near the reactor site. Some are on a hunger strike. Some 10,000 police have surrounded the protesters and reportedly are blocking the media from entering the area.
Dr. Udayakumar was able to get the letters below to members of the NIRS/WISE network describing the current situation at the protest site. We share it with you now.
For continuing information on the struggle against the Kudankulam reactors, visit DiaNuke.org.
Videos of the police clampdown and of Dr. Udayakumar are available from India's NDTV here.
Background information on the Kudankulam reactors prepared by DiaNuke.org.
Take action: Tell Indian officials to leave the protesters alone and to stop Kudankulam!
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People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy
Idinthakarai 627 104
September 12, 2012
Let us Do Some Soul-search and Talk Again!
Just like a hapless wife brutally assaulted by her male chauvinistic and drunken husband, like an innocent little child beaten up by his abusive parent, our honest, hardworking, and pious people have been violated, their possessions vandalized, their 400-day long nonviolent movement vilified. By our own government! By our own Chief Minister who we brought back to power to rescue us from corruption, power abuse, nepotism, dynastic rule and double speak! An overwhelming majority of the Tamil voters including almost all the coastal communities voted for the Chief Minister’s party.
When the biggest nuclear power plants in the country or the largest nuclear power park is being set up on our seas that will have deleterious effect on our sea and seafood, land and crops, water bodies and ground water, on our livelihood and on our progeny, we have opposed peacefully, democratically and nonviolently. Don’t we have at least that much freedom in our country?
In fact, the Chief Minister sympathized with our cause in the beginning. She had objected to the Chennai visit of the nuclear-armed ship, the USS Nimitz; and she had opposed the India-US nuclear deal with so much conviction. Our team met with the Chief Minister twice and the Prime Minister once at her own personal initiative. The Chief Minister kept talking about solar power and other renewable sources of energy, kept demanding more electricity from the central pool and more finance for electricity projects in Tamil Nadu. She even said that she would be one among us in our struggle.
We took to the streets, voiced our concerns to the Central Government and asked them to stop the Koodankulam nuclear power project, change our energy policy and to save our natural resources. The District Collector, Dr. R. Selvaraj, entertained us in his office and served us tea and biscuits. The Superintendent of Police, Mr. Vijayendra Bidari, gave oral ‘go-ahead’ every time we sought permission over phone for our demonstrations, agitations and public meetings. But they kept on filing false cases on us all with serious charges such as sedition, waging war on the state and so forth.
The ‘love scene’ changed to ‘hate scene’ in March 2012! The script changed! The situation, the lighting, and the overall direction changed! The Chief Minister alleges that we are all in a ‘maya valai’ (mystical net). Maybe she is referring to nuclear radiation that is indeed like a ‘maya valai’ you cannot see, hear, smell, taste or touch.
Today we are surrounded by police, beaten up by police, harassed by police, accused of committing all kinds of crimes by police, arrested by police and above all, mentally, emotionally, spiritually assaulted by police. And the Chief Minister is the police minister!
We are all fisherfolks, shopkeepers, agricultural laborers, beedi-rolling women, and to be brief, working class people. We do not steal public money, we do not amass wealth through illegal business deals, and we do not plunder the nation’s natural wealth. But we are treated like criminals; dangerous, seditious, violent, vicious and wicked lawbreakers. Our leaders, who have been invoking the names and wisdom of Thiruvalluvar, Buddha, Mahavir, Ashoka, Guru Nanak, Mahatma Gandhi, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan and Mother Teresa, are treated like dreaded terrorists. Our people who worship Sage Vishwamitra, Lord Jesus Christ and Prophet Mohamed are treated with contempt and dislike. The St. Lourdes Church at Idinthakarai has been desecrated by urinating and a holy statue destroyed. Naval boats are patrolling our seas; air force planes are hovering over our villages; the police are blocking our roads; we are short of food, water and other basic essentials; and the state is waging a war on us! But we cannot do a thing!
The global nuclear mafia sees our people as their sworn enemies. The KGB, the CIA and other international intelligence agencies consider us serious threats to their respective ruling cliques. The Delhi Government is infuriated with us as they are worried about their billion dollar nuclear business deals and commissions and kickbacks. The Tamil Nadu Government also tends to treat us like dreaded terrorists and dangerous criminals.
The police have shot down an unarmed civilian Anthony John at Manappadu coastal village. Several people including a small baby are said to be missing. Some 53 nonviolent protesters, men and women, are charged with sedition and waging war on the State cases and are languishing in distant prisons in Tamil Nadu. Thousands and thousands of families are living in fear and despair.
We do not expect or want any awards or accolades for practicing democracy and protesting in a nonviolent manner. But can’t we be treated with a little bit of humanness, civility and dignity? Who should we turn to? Who could we talk to? The Chief Minister may not even see this. Her arrogant upper caste advisors may say everything bad about us and our lower caste people.
We would request the Chief Minister to stop fuelling the KKNPP, remove police from our area, provide compensation for the people who lost their boats, vehicles and household items, and release those who are arrested.
We thank all the leaders and members of various political parties, social movements, lawyer associations, fishermen associations, student groups, labor unions, village committees and other organizations in Tamil Nadu and other states for organizing various demonstrations and agitations in support of our struggle. We would solicit their continued support for our struggle and for the above-mentioned immediate demands as well.
The Struggle Committee
People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy
125 Days of Confinement
S. P. Udayakumar
July 22, 2012
July 21, 2012 marked the 125th day of my and Pushparayan’s self-exile here at Idinthakarai. We have not gone out of this coastal village for more than four months now except two brief visits to the neighboring Kuthenkuzhi village by sea. Rayan and I live in a quarter kilometer radius area. The southern border is the Bay of Bengal and the northern limit is the Lourde’s hospital. But most of the days, we walk only a few meters from the Parish Priest’s Bungalow to the relay fast staged on the front porch of the St. Lourdes Church and back.
All our comrades who were arrested and lodged in the jails of Cuddalore, Nanguneri and Tiruchirappalli have come back and resumed their routine life. Even Muhilan and Satish who were hounded and harassed by the Tamil Nadu police are out of jails now. But Rayan and I are still in. There are more than 270 cases against me and Rayan and I am the A1 (Accused 1) in almost all these cases. There are several ‘sedition’ and ‘waging war against the Indian State’ cases against us. If we go out of Idinthakarai, we could be arrested; even worse, our struggle could be ended by the authorities.
Ever since March 19, 2012, when the Tamil Nadu government changed its stand on the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) issue, we have been protected by the people, mostly women and children. They come in thousands and sleep around the Parish Priest’s Bungalow where Rayan and I stay and sleep. The youth of the village sleep on the outskirts of the village and keep vigil throughout night, and so do our women by going on incessant patrol around the Bungalow and the Church throughout night. Families from the neighboring villages such as Koodankulam also come for this security duty.
No chair, no position, no honor, and no title can be more gratifying and delightful than this spontaneous love and affection of the honest and hard-working men, women and children of our villages.
Of course, Rayan and I miss our families. We would love to go home and be with them and live our simple lives as we have always done. But here are thousands and thousands of families that are fighting for the well-being of the Tamil people and the rest of India. It is a real pleasure and sheer privilege to be the “servant leaders” of these struggling people who are making enormous sacrifice to preserve the natural resources, livelihood, and the futures of our people. I, for one, have no doubt whatsoever that these “ordinary citizens” will set in motion an extraordinary history for our Tamil Nadu and India.
The Silent and Telling Emergency in India
S. P. Udayakumar
June 26, 2012
Today is the 37the anniversary of the infamous emergency that Prime Minister Indira Gandhi imposed on the people of India. While some people were quite happy that the bureaucrats came to offices on time, shopkeepers kept price lists outside their shops, trains were punctual and so forth, many people were worried and concerned about the curtailment of our freedoms and entitlements. As a 15-year-old boy, I was worried about my father’s safety (as he was active in the DMK party), the complete absence of freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of assembly, and most importantly, freedom from fear. People were afraid to speak their minds out, the newspapers were full of blank spaces because of censorship, and the society was enveloped by a thin layer of fear and suspicion. That was not the India I had grown up to love and cherish. Never did I imagine even in my wildest nightmares that I would find myself in a similar but silent emergency after some 37 years of liberty and freedom.
Today is the 100th day of my and Pushparayan’s self-exile here at Idinthakarai. On March 18, 2012 at 4:45 PM the Personal Assistant (General) of the Tirunelveli Collector called me and asked me and Fr. F. Jayakumar, the Parish Priest of Idinthakarai, to go and meet the Collector in his office the next morning at 10 am. The Collector, Dr. R. Selvaraj, himself called me later that night and the next day morning asking us to go and meet him. A warning bell rang in my mind and I told my friends that we were all going to be arrested. My intuition proved to be right; some 200 of our friends from Koodankulam, Koottapuli, Chettikulam and Erode were arrested. Rayan and I and 13 others embarked on an indefinite hunger strike demanding our friends’ immediate and unconditional release.
The Superintendent of Police, Mr. Vijayendra Bidari, called me on my mobile on March 19th evening and asked me to surrender. With him still on the phone, I asked the thousands of people who had gathered there for their permission to surrender and they all shouted down the idea. I asked the SP to send enough vehicles and two officers with the arrest warrants so that we all would get arrested en masse. He did not like that idea and hung up by saying, “This is the last time I speak to you.” We used to speak to each other quite often as I got his oral permission for all our rallies, campaigns and public meetings.
Ever since March 18th, Rayan and I never left this small coastal village (except two short visits to the nearby Kuthenkuzhi village by sea). Thousands of people including women and children from all the neighboring villages were keeping a constant round-the-clock vigil to protect us from police action. The Tamil Nadu government imposed 144 prohibitory orders in our area and blocked our access to food, water, electricity and other essentials such as baby food, vegetables and fruits. Young mothers were forced to feed their babies sugar water; pregnant women could not go to hospital; and men could not leave or enter the village. We were surrounded by a massive deployment of police personnel from all over Tamil Nadu and paramilitary forces. We rightly called the situation another ‘Mullivaikal.’ Indeed, it was!
Pushparayan, Jesuraj and I are not afraid of police arrest or incarceration; we just do not want the struggle to be folded up by the Tamil Nadu police, the Government of India and its intelligence agencies. This is the reason why we have decided not to venture out of Idinthakarai. This self-exile has not been easy or smooth-going. But the singular achievement of our self-exile is keeping the struggle alive and active with several hunger strikes, public meetings, campaigns, planning meetings and other assorted activities.
So far, more than 300 false cases have been filed against us, the leaders of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), and the struggling people of southern Tamil Nadu. Up until December 31, 2011 some 170 FIRs were filed against us. A friend tabulated these cases and had this to say: “Just between September and December 2011, …109 FIRs (First Investigation Report) have been filed against 55,795 people and an undisclosed number of "others." At least 21 sections of the IPC (Indian Penal Code) have been used, include Section 121 (Waging War against the Government of India) against 3600 people, and Section 124A (Sedition) against 3200 people. The Koodankulam police station has the dubious distinction, perhaps, of being the station where the largest number of "sedition" and "waging war" cases have been filed in the shortest time in the history of colonial and independent India.” Here is a partial list of cases that were filed against us just in October and November of 2011:
Cr. No. 299/11 D.O. 13.10.11
Sec. 121, 143, 188, 153(A), 341, 506(1), 505(1)(b) & 7(1)(a) CLA Act R/W 120(b)
S P. Udayakumar and 19 others (including 4 women)
Cr. No. 301/11 D.O. 14.10.11
Sec. 143, 147, 188 R/W 34
S. P. Udayakumar and 13 others (including one woman) as well as 2,000 people
Cr. No. 303/11 D.O. 14.10.11
Sec. 147, 148, 341, 294(b), 353, 506(ii) IPC R/W 34.
S. P. Udayakumar and 13 others (including one woman) as well as 1,000 people.
Cr. No. 304/11 D.O. 14.10.11
Sec. 147, 148, 452, 121, 506(I) IPC R/W 34 IPC
S. P. Udayakaumr and 2 others as well as 15 supporters.
Cr. No. 305/11 D.O. 14.10.11
Sec. 147, 148, 452, 121, 506(I) IPC R/W 34 IPC
S. P. Udayakumar and two others as well as many people.
Cr. No. 306/11 D.O. 14.10.11
Sec. 147, 148, 452, 121, 506(I) IPC R/W 34 IPC.
Allwyn and four others as well as many people.
Cr. No. 307/11 D.O. 14.10.11
Sec. 147, 148, 452, 121, 506(II) IPC R/W 34 IPC.
S. P. Udayakumar and three others as well as many.
Cr. No. 315/11 D.O. 15.10.11
Sec. 109, 121, 124 (A), 125, 143, 153(A), 341, 353, 505(1)(b), 506(i) IPC & Sec 3 of PDDL Act & 7(1)(a) CLA Act. R/W 120 IPC.
S. P. Udayakumar and 16 others (including 6 priests, 2 doctors, 2 women)
Cr. No. 316/11 D.O. 16.10.11
Sec. 147, 188, 353, 341 R/W 34 IPC.
S. P. Udayakumar and 13 others.
Cr. No. 372/11 D.O. 21.11.11
Sec. 121, 124A, 143, 153(A), 447, 505(1)(b) & 7(1)(a) CLA Act, 120(B).
S. P. Udayakumar and 14 others as well as 3,000 people.
Cr. No. 373/11 D.O. 21.11.11
Sec. 143, 188, 147, 124(A), 153(A)
S. P. Udayakumar and 19 others as well as 450 people.
As you can see, some of the above cases carry the charges of ‘sedition’ and ‘waging war against the Indian State’. But what is interesting is the fact that the Prime Minister of India, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, the Tirunelveli District Collector, the Tirunelveli Superintendent of Police (SP) and many other officials have been meeting with us on a regular basis as the diary below establishes. The question here is if we are guilty of ‘sedition’ and of ‘waging war against the Indian State’ and so forth, don’t these officials become co-conspirators in our crimes and stand accused of abetting us, the dangerous criminals? Shouldn’t the same charges be brought against them also?
September 15, 2011
Tamil Nadu Ministers Mr. Chellapandian, Mr. Chenthur Pandian, Mr. Shanmuganathan, Mr. Nainar Nagendran, MLA, and Mr. Rajendran, MLA came along with the District Collector, Deputy Inspector General (DIG), Superintendent of Police (SP), Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) and a few other officials to Radhapuram to meet with the Struggle Committee members.
September 21, 2011
The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu met with us in her office 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. The Catholic Bishops of Kottar and Thoothukudi and the CSI Bishops of Tirunelvei and Thoothukudi and several other prominent citizens were with us. The CM talked to us for some 45 minutes.
October 7, 2011
A large delegation of the Struggle Committee members, the Catholic Bishops of Kottar and Thoothukudi and the CSI Bishops of Tirunelvei and Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu politicians, MPs and Tamil Nadu ministers met with the Prime Minister of India under the leadership of Tamil Nadu Finance Minister, Mr. O. Panneerselvam. Minister of State Mr. V. Narayanaswamy, Dr. Sreekumar Banerjee, the head of the Department of Atomic Energy, Dr. S. K. Jain, the head of the NPCIL, Mr. Shivsankar Menon, National Security Advisor, were also with us during the meeting.
October 10, 2011
Some of the Struggle Committee members had talks with the RDO and Additional Deputy SP (ADSP) from 12:30 to 3:00 PM; we insisted on their honoring the Tamil Nadu Cabinet resolution and stopping work at the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP).
October 20, 2011
Some of the Struggle Committee members met with Kerala Minister Mr. P. J. Joseph, Chief Minister Mr. Oomen Chandi, and the opposition leader Mr. V.S. Achuthanandan in their homes and/or offices.
November 1, 2011
Some of the Struggle Committee members were at the Collector’s office talking to the Collector from 11:00 am to 2:30 pm.
November 7, 2011
Some members of the Struggle Committee spent several hours talking to the Collector in his office.
November 8, 2011
M. Pushparayan and Mi. Pa. Jesuraj met with the Central Government’s Expert Group and held talks at the Collector’s office; the Collector and the SP also participated in the meeting.
November 16, 2011
Some of the Struggle Committee members met the SP in his office at 3:00 pm; then we met with the District Revenue Officer (DRO) and the Collector’s Personal Assistance (General) at the Collector Office.
November 18, 2011
In the second meeting of the team, M. Pushparayan and Mi. Pa. Jesuraj met with the Central Government’s Expert Group and held talks at the Collector’s office; the Collector and the SP also participated in the meeting.
November 30, 2011
Some of the Struggle Committee members went to the Collector’s office and met with the PA(G) at 5:00 pm; waited for the Collector who came only at 6:30 pm. Complained to him about more people entering the KKNPP, Dinamalar’s criminal activities, and the Tamil Nadu government’s slapping severe cases on us. He promised to look into all these issues and to send the RDO and the Deputy SP (DSP) to the KKNPP premises.
December 13, 2011
S. Sivasubramanian, Mi. Pa. Jesuraj, Muhilan and S. P. Udayakumar went to see the Collector at 5 PM. We had a long discussion with the Collector, the Planning Officer, RDO, ASP, one other official, and the PA(G) about the inflow of workers and vehicles into the KKNPP.
December 15, 2011
In the third meeting of the team, M. Pushparayan and Mi. Pa. Jesuraj met with the Central Government’s Expert Group and held talks at the Collector’s office; the Collector and the SP also participated in the meeting.
January 3, 2012
Some Struggle Committee members met the PA(G) at 5:30 pm as the Collector wasn’t there in his office. We gave him a memo for the Chief Minister.
January 6, 2012
Met with the ASP, ADSP and Inspectors of Koodankulam and Radhapuram police stations and discussed the people’s siege issue at length. The officials agreed to go and check the presence of workers at the KKNPP tomorrow.
January 12, 2012
Mi. Pa. Jesuraj, Muhilan and S. P. Udayakumar gave a memorandum to the BSNL officer at Radhapuram and the Tahsildar of Radhapuram. Then some of the Struggle Committee members went to Cheranmahadevi to meet the Sub-Collector, Ms. Rohini Ramdas Bidari at her office.
January 20, 2012
S. Sivasubramanian, Mi. Pa. Jesuraj, Muhilan and S. P. Udayakumar went to Tirunelveli to meet the SP and handed over a complaint about the Dinamalar newspaper. Then met with the PA(G) of Collector about the same issue. Later met with the Collector in his office and discussed about the Jan 31st meeting.
January 31, 2012
The fourth meeting with the Central government’s Expert Group did not take place. As our car entered the compound and approached the main office, a small group of some 15 men (both Congress and Hindu Munnani thugs) came rushing towards our car and pelted stones and attacked the vehicle. We drove out of the Collector office compound and refused to participate in the talks. Talked to the press and left the scene. Police escort came and took us to the Muntradaippu police station; The SP also came and met us there. In the meantime, some 10,000 people had gathered in front of the KKNPP front gate. We rushed to Koodankulam and talked to the people for almost an hour and asked them to disperse peacefully. The DIG, SP, RDO and several hundred policemen were there at Koodankulam. Took some people to meet the DIG at the Koodankulam police station and had a dialogue with him. Took the injured women to Radhapuram govt. hospital for treatment and they were all admitted as in-patients.
February 18, 2012
People laid a siege in front of the KKNPP from 12 pm till 9 pm. The Tamil Nadu government’s expert panel visited the KKNPP site at around 5:30 pm. They were there for hardly an hour. We held talks with the DIG and the Collector at the Koodankulam police station with two demands: reducing the work force at KKNPP to 20 and the Tamil Nadu panel should come to our villages to meet with the people.
February 19, 2012
Some of the Struggle Committee members went to the Collectorate in the afternoon. We had a long meeting with the team, Dr. Iniyan, Dr. M.R. Sreenivasan, Mr. Vijayaraghavan and Dr. Arivu Oli. The Collector, SP, DRO, RDO and PA(G) were also there.
February 29, 2012
We met the AIADMK MP Mr. Manoj Pandian as we were waiting to meet with the Chief Minister and talked to him about the struggle. M. Pushparayan, S. Sivasubramanian, Dr. R. Ramesh and S. P. Udayakumar met with the CM. She stood up, smiled and received us. I gave her some of my books. I spoke for some 15 minutes which she listened to very carefully and attentively. When I paused, she said, “Have you finished?” Then Dr. Ramesh spoke for 5 minutes and gave some of his reports. She said, “I’ll go through them carefully.” We thanked her and left.
More than 300 cases including ‘sedition’ and ‘waging war against the State’ charges and life in self exile in a remote coastal village without any mobility, family, access to health care, and other essentials of life make me remember the ‘Emergency’ and MISA (Maintenance of Internal Security Act) days. Yes, there is a silent emergency prevailing in India today. The State that accuses us of waging war against it is indeed waging a war against its own people. Also we have to ask what is seditious today in India. The Manmohan Singh government has scores of ministers who are accused of serious corruption and fraudulence charges but it is the common people like us who struggle for the safety and betterment of our people stand accused of sedition.
The Manmohan Singh government, the most controversial government independent India has ever had, has tried all kinds of dirty tricks to put down our struggle and the movement. They have been accusing us of receiving foreign money, acting at the behest of foreign powers, conspiring with the Catholic Church, conniving with opposition parties and so on. They have damaged my school, destroyed the poor little children’s library books, vandalized the children’s water taps, intimidated the family members, and indulged in all kinds of inhuman, devious and criminal behavior. The Indian government and the Department of Atomic Energy have refused to give any information to the public and are speaking half-truths, non-truths and complete nonsense just to mislead the country and enhance their own self interests.
Having exhausted all options to end opposition to the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant, the Government of India now plans to take a peek into all our minds and remove any fears with the help of psychiatrists from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) in Bangalore. The government is getting sicker and sillier. Besides the prevailing ‘silent emergency,’ there is also a telling emergency in the country, viz. we are stuck with a government that works for foreign governments, foreign corporations, foreign interests, and cannot for a second accept the simple fact that ‘Ordinary Indians’ can think through policy issues, take a stand on them, and stand up for their rights. We have got an emergency situation indeed.
S. P. Udayakumar is the Coordinator of People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) and the opinions expressed here are his own. For contact, firstname.lastname@example.org.
S. P. Udayakumar
May 30, 2012
[Newspaper Reports: Having exhausted all options to end opposition to the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant,
the Indian government now plans to get a peek into the protesters’ minds and remove any fears with the help of
psychiatrists from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) in Bangalore.]
If you do feel like pulling your hair off
when they deprive you of your daily bread,
If you do feel like screaming your head off
when they chip away at your wellbeing,
If you do feel like kicking up a storm
when they deny your identity and freedom,
If you do feel like raising a ruckus
when they wring you dry of life’s very meaning,
If you feel like grabbing one’s throat
when they lay on the line your survival,
You must be sick, my friend! I dare say,
you could even be mentally ill.
You could be suffering from reality distortion
focusing on problems rather than solutions;
You could be a victim of interpretative intention
drawing negative conclusions and opposing authority;
You are simply sick with establishmentophobia
doubting leaders, heroes, scientists and such Noble Men.
If the State signs nuclear deals with every country
and mines adivasi land and all over for Yellow Cake,
Builds temples of technology, dumps the waste into the blue sea,
and manufactures “Smiling Buddha” products that protect us all—
They see Nuclear Nirvana but you cry foul for denuding with nukes,
and for this feeling of demoniac you need to see a psychiatrist!
The prognosis for this establishmentophobia is rather mixed.
You will continue to suspect your mother, the country, and Father, the State;
You will distrust your Brothers and sisters, the Nobility and their sentry;
You will disbelieve the fact that “road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions.”
You like a lunatic lover will be hard to talk to and even harder to listen to;
You’ll become imponderable, impregnable, and simply impossible.
If the diagnosis is rather bad and the prognosis even worse,
The therapy is the worst, calling for continuous psychiatric care.
Explore the anatomical structure of your brain and examine its neurophysiology;
Check your preference of Democritean knowing: through senses or intellect?
And put you on corrective behavior in a correctional facility or corporate hospital
For distrusting the dual drive theory of nuking and nirvana to explain human fulfillment.
People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) May 24, 2012
Idinthakarai & P. O. 627 104
Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu
Phone: 98656 83735; 98421 54073
Press Release on Koodankulam Site Evaluation Report
 As per the Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2012/000544/18674 dated 30.4.2012, the Central Information Commissioner ordered “to provide an attested photocopy of the Safety Analysis Report and Site Evaluation Report after severing any proprietary details of designs provided by the suppliers to the appellant before 25 May, 2012.” The CIC has stated categorically that “if the said reports have details of designs of the plant which are specially provided by the suppliers,” “the PIO can severe such design details which have been provided by the supplier as per the provisions of Section 10 of the [RTI] Act.”
 The NPCIL in its reply to the CIC argues that the Safety Analysis Report (SAR) “is a ‘third party document’ and therefore, without the prior consent of the third party, the same cannot be shared with anyone.” Although they are holding the SAR in a ‘Fiduciary Capacity,’ the NPCIL has said it is “ready and willing to show the copy” of SAR to the CIC. But they cannot share it with the people of India. Obviously, the NPCIL is more interested in the safety of the Russian company and the Russian benefactors but not in the safety of the people of India.
 The Central Public Information Officer, Shri S. K. Shrivastava, has sent “the copy of Site Evaluation Report for KKNPP 1 & 2” with the cover letter No. NPCIL/VSB/CPIO/620/KKNPP/2012/769 dated May 17, 2012.
Physical Shape of the so called SER:
The so-called Site Evaluation Report (SER) consists of twelve (12) pages of hardly-legible typed-material with no cover page, no authorship, no ownership, no publisher, no date, no index, and no head or tail. If the print quality of the so called SER is anything to go by to assess the standard of the overall Koodankulam nuclear power project, we have so much to worry about our and our country’s future. You can hardly read a word and rarely decipher a number. Maybe that is the way NPCIL prepares its important public safety reports so that no one can and will read, understand, discuss, debate and ask more questions.
Moreover, the so called SER mentions the Soviet Union in several places and it proves that the report is also quite old and outdated. Common sense tells us that this is certainly not the original or complete ‘Site Evaluation Report’ for KKNPP 1 and 2. And if it really is, then Indian citizens have something serious to worry about. In all probability, what we have received is some loose old notes of the NPCIL hurriedly put together to meet the CIC deadline and to mislead the public. It is very strange that the SER of India’s first largest mega nuclear complex that may allegedly house six to eight large imported reactors is 12 loose A-4 sheets. It is unbelievable that an ambitious India-Russia joint project built with a whopping outlay of Rs. 14,000 crore has such a lackadaisical site evaluation study.
In the so called SER that has been sent to us, pages 1, 2, 3 and 13 have been expunged without any explanation. It is unlikely that this report may have “details of designs of the plant.” It gives rise to a suspicion that the NPCIL still hiding some crucial public safety-related information from the Indian public. On Page 4, the last paragraph mentions “the site selection committee” and “[t]he present committee” without mentioning the number of members or their names. It is unclear why the NPCIL is trying to hide this vital and relevant information.
Startling Revelations in the so called SER:
[i] Pechipari Water Will be Taken
The so called SER records on Pages 6-7: “In order to enhance additional reliability for water supply, which is essential for functioning of various safety systems of the reactor, intake well at Pechiparai Dam should be provided at lower elevation than the minimum draw-down level of the reservoir. However, it should be ensured by proper management of water distribution that the water level is maintained above this minimum level.” On Page 11, the SER discusses “Fresh water for make-up and domestic use” and establishes that it is “Assured by State Government. One pipe line from Pechiparai dam (at 65 km) to be laid.” Indeed two pipe lines have already been laid from the tail end of the Kuzhithurai Tamirabharani river along the Kanyakumari district coast and from a location some 5 kms away from the Pechiparai dam through Nagercoil town. The NPCIL authorities simply parrot the unserious assertion that they would not take water from the Pechiparai dam, and the Government of Tamil Nadu ignores our long-standing demand of passing an Assembly resolution against taking the Pechiparai water. As a matter of fact, the Tamil Nadu government has recently allotted some Rs. 5 crore to desilt the dam and maintain it.
[ii] No Evacuation Routes Planned or Prescribed
The so called SER claims on Page 8: “At least two evacuation routes from plant site during an emergency should be provided.” It established on Page 16: “3 routes exist for possible evacuation. Schools and other public buildings exist for adequate temporary shelter, Nagercoil (30km), Tirunelveli (100km), and Tuticorin (100km) can provide communication, medical facilities and administrative support.” But there is no discussion about the escape routes, the condition of these roads, the status of the relief shelters and so forth.
[iii] Possible Future Expansion
Under Topography, the so called SER asserts: “Sufficient land available for future expansion.” But the NPCIL officials keep saying that they will not take more land for the KKNPP.
[iv] Incomplete and Incoherent Info on Hydrology, Geology, Oceanography and Seismology Aspects
All these important issues are very briefly mentioned in a Table with cursory information and without any in-depth analysis.
*Tsunami is explained away by saying “Not significant as per preliminary report of CRPPS.”
*As far as seismotectonic environment is concerned, the report asserts simply that “No active fault within 5 km. Site is seismic zone II as per IS-1893; 1984.”
*The report says on Page 14: “A lime stone quary of about 70 acres falls within the sterilized zone. The lease for this area expires in 1994. Termination of the lease beyond the period has been requested.” In fact, this quarry has functioned until very recently.
Important and relevant issues such as Karst in the area, the slumps in the sea, and the recent mega earthquake in the Indian Ocean have not been mentioned or discussed.
[v] Radioactive Waste Details
The so called SER says:
*“160-180 m cu per year of cemented waste including spent absorption materials, 40 m cu/yr of compacted waste and 5 m cu/yr of cemented ash will be generated from one reactor.”
*“Low level solid waste to be buried within exclusion zone in leak-proof RCC Vaults/trenches/tile holes.”
*Spent Fuel: “Each unit layout can store spent fuel of 5 reactor years in the spent fuel pool located inside the containment.”
Liquid Waste Dumped into the Sea
According to the SER, the liquid waste is “[t]o be diluted to 2x10E-7 micro Ci/l when discharged into the sea.” So it is clearly established that the radioactivity in the liquid waste of 6000 mCu/year from two units will be removed in the Ion exchange resin and as evaporator concentrate. It will be further diluted by condenser cooling water to meet the AERB limits and discharged into the sea.
The daily releases of gaseous discharge from KKNPP 1 and 2 will contain noble gases, I-131, long-life nuclides and short-life nuclides.
According to the SER, “Depth of sea water and large dilution due to sea will avoid thermal pollution.”
The so called SER asserts wrongly that there are no center of more than 10,000 people within 10 km radius zone and no center of more than 100,000 people within 30 km radius zone.
There is hardly any mention of desalinations plants, the transportation of the nuclear waste and other crucial issues. To sum up, this SER reads like a practical joke being played upon the innocent people of southern Tamil Nadu and southern Kerala. The PMANE rejects this so called SER and demands the NPCIL to share the real, complete and updated Site Evaluation Report with the people of India along with the Safety Analysis Report as per the orders of the CIC.
The Struggle Committee
People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)
Urgent Message from Idinthakarai
May 9, 2012
Curfew orders have just been promulgated in our area once again right after our planning meetings with the youth, women, community elders and the Idinthakarai village committee on May 8, 2012. Thousands of police personnel are being posted in and around Koodankulam in haste. We get reliable tips that the authorities are planning to clamp down our protest and arrest all of us, possibly tonight. Such a pre-dawn operation that the government usually does could be bloody as thousands of men, women and children from several villages are sleeping around the Church at Idinthakarai.
This action may be planned to cover up a recent accident at the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP). It is said that two young men, Sivakumar and Esakkimuthu, were injured on May 4 in an alleged blast at KKNPP and they were admitted in a private hospital at Anjugramam. Dr. Tamilarasu who treated the men confirmed the accident according to a newspaper report (The Indian Express, May 8, 2012). One of the young men’s fathers talked to the Puthiya Thalaimurai television on May 8, 2012 that he was not even allowed to see his son.
On May 8, 2012, we also held a Press Meet at Idinthakarai at 4:00 PM in which we produced the ledgers with tens of thousands of signatures of people from some 60 villages opposing the KKNPP. This is a clear proof that the central and state governments are acting against the will of the local people and are thrusting the dangerous nuclear power project down our throats in an authoritarian and arrogant manner. We also produced some 24,000 voter ID cards that the people had surrendered in protest against the governments’ callous attitude towards the 302 women and 35 men indefinite hunger strikers. As the Indian government and the state governments do not respect ordinary people’s lives and interests in India, we also launched the “Respect India” Campaign along the lines of Mahatma Gandhi’s “Quit India” campaign of 1942.
The Tamil Nadu police have been harassing local people when they close their shops in support of our protests or when they travel to neighboring villages. The police take individual pot shots of the people, shoot group photos, take down the vehicle numbers, abuse with foul language and intimidate them. When a curfew was imposed earlier on our area by the Tamil Nadu government on March 19, 2012, the authorities divided the local communities by announcing a Rs. 500 crore bribery package to the local bodies, stifled news reports on us by silencing the media and isolated the people by distancing the Church.
It is so strange and unfortunate that the central and state governments treat us, nonviolent and democratic Gandhian activists, as some kind of dangerous extremists. The hunger strikers are very weak and feeble but they refuse to give up without getting our demands fulfilled. Instead of talking to us, the Tamil Nadu government seems to be preparing for a highhanded behavior and violence to put us all down.
Please contact the following officers and demand justice for our people:
 Dr. R. Selvaraj, District Collector, Tirunelveli District, Tirunelveli. Phone: 91-462-2500828; Fax: 91-462-2500224; Mobile: 91-9444185000; Email:email@example.com
 Mr. V. Varadharaju; Phone: 91-462-2568031; Mobile: 91-9840970530; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
 Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Fort St. George, Chennai 600 009, India; Phones: 91-44-25672345 (W); 91-44-25670215 (H); Faxes: 91-44-28133510; 25676929; 25671441; 28130787.
 Mr. Debendranath Sarangi, Chief Secretary; Phone: 91-44-25671555; Fax: 91-44-25672304; Email: email@example.com
 Dr. Sheela Priya, Additional Chief Secretary; Phone: 91-44-25674234; Fax: 91-44-25675163. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Struggle Committee,
People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy
People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) April 25, 2012
Idinthakarai 627 104, Tirunelveli District,
Tamil Nadu, 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 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. 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. When the state government of Tamil Nadu arrested some 200 of our comrades on March 19, 2012, 15 of us embarked on an indefinite hunger strike until March 27. This struggle has been going on for more than 260 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 more than 200 criminal 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.
Right now, the Indian government is trying to commission the KKNPP reactors without conducting the mandatory disaster training and evacuation exercises to the people in the 30-km radius. The government and the Department of Atomic Energy have not told the people anything about the Koodankulam nuclear waste and its management, the secretive liability agreement between New Delhi and Moscow, and the geology, hydrology, oceanography and seismology issues with regards to the Koodankulam reactors.
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 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.
S. P. Udayakumar, M. Pushparayan, Fr. M.P. Jesuraj, Fr. F. Jayakumar and others.
Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Fort St. George, Chennai 600 009, India. Fax No. (+91-44)-28133510; 25676929; 25671441; 28130787. Mr. Debendranath Sarangi, Chief Secretary: 044-25671555. Fax: 25672304. Email: email@example.com
Dr. Sheela Priya, Addl Chief Secretary to CM. 044 25675163. Fax: 25675163. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Prime Minister of India, South Block, Raisina Hill, New Delhi 110 001, India.
People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) April 23, 2012
Idinthakarai & P. O. 627 104
Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu
Phone: 98656 83735; 98421 54073
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)
April 16, 2012
Note: More information about this update, from a fact-finding team that found the charges are a "parody of law" can be found on the DiaNuke.org site here.
The state's propaganda and witch-hunt has taken a fresh and disturbing turn with an engineered FIR filed by the husband of Vijayapathi Panchayat President and his brother Stalin. Please see links below:
I spoke to V. Pushparayan at 10:15 a.m. today. According to media reports, a gang instigated by Pushparayan and Udayakumar, attacked and injured Sahayaraj (President's husband) and Stalin (Sahayaraj's brother) at 8:30 p.m. on 14 April, 2012. The above two media reports do not even bother to interview the people accused of this alleged crime. The allegation is made into a fact, as if the reporter had observed the attack.
Here's the version from Idinthakarai.
1. On Saturday, in the morning, the Struggle Committee received a letter from the Panchayat President making it seem as if the protestors are standing in the way of legitimate functioning and administration of the Panchayat.
2. At between 6 and 7 p.m., Sahayaraj and a few others went to the space that is being used as a public bathing area and toilet by the protestors. Sahayaraj picked up a fight with the women gathered there, shut off the water, locked off access to the toilets, and took away the keys from Mr. Suganthan, a differently abled person. The toilets are actually a women's toilet constructed specifically for women. The abused the women using vulgar language and Mr. Sahayaraj threatened them saying no woman should use these toilets from Sunday onwards. Ms. Sahaya Initha, Councillor of 13th ward, who spoke to me on phone said that the toilets were opened this morning after the women threatened to complain to the BDO.
3. As narrated by Sahaya Initha to me over phone: "There are 450 houses in CASA Nagar. The residents have been purchasing drinking water at Rs. 2.50 per pot. Salt water for other purposes is pumped from a borewell to an overhead tank in the colony. This water is provided to residents for 3 hours every other day. Water has to be stored to meet all purposes other than drinking within these three hours. At around 7:15 p.m. on Saturday, Mr. Sahayaraj accompanied by Stalin, Bosco, Inniyasi, Sagayam and Xavier, went to CASA Nagar, a tsunami rehabilitation colony located about 700 metres from the nuclear plant. They were in a car. They came ready for trouble. They had weapons in their vehicle. Because I'm the councillor, these men came to my house to threaten my husband. All the women gathered and we lay down and blocked them. Sahayaraj then confronted Mr. Ganesan, the person who has the keys to the borewell pump house. Despite our protests, he snatched away the keys from Mr. Ganesan. He said "Now I'll see what you'll do for water." As women, we didn't want to pick up a fight with these guys as we were apprehensive that they will attack us with the weapons in their possession. This morning, we contacted one Mr. Paul Durai, who had another set of keys, and we got him to open the pump and run it, but only after we threatened to go to the BDO and complain."
At 8:30 p.m. the same day, Mr. Santhiya, s/o Felix, residing at North Antoniyars St, Idinthakarai, and driver Mr. Livings, s/o Remigius, were returning to Idinthakarai by Vehicle No. TN 72 Q 4323. A car coming in the opposite direction suddenly swerved towards them, narrowly missing a head-on collision, but scraping the car. The occupants of the two vehicles got out. The other vehicle was occupied by Mr. Sahayaraj and Mr. Stalin, his brother. Both were reportedly inebriated. They got out, and thrashed Santhiya and Felix, and reported at the Koodankulam Police Station that they were the victims. Mr. Santhiya and Felix were too afraid to report to the police as any Idinthakarai resident can be arrested on any pretext because of the large number of false cases filed on unknown people.
Complaints about all incidents will be filed by post and email. Sahaya Initha says "The problem is between Sahayaraj and the people who elected his wife. Udaykumar Ayya, Pushparayan Ayya and Father Jesuraj did not elect them and they have nothing to do with our anger. Sahayaraj is upset with us because of the fight we picked up after he snatched the keys to the toilets and borewell pump. The FIR should be filed against us."
Last night, another incident has happened. Mr. Stalin -- Sahayaraj's brother -- owns a large shed which used to house vehicles and cattle. Last night, the cattle and vehicles were removed and the shed was set afire. A 2000 strong dalit community lives near the Shed in the village named Keezh Vijayapathi. The community knows who set it afire, and they plan to file a petition with the police today.
Mrs. Egethin Sahayaraj, the invisible woman president whose husband is the proxy President, was elected on the basis of a poll promise that she will stand with the people against the nuclear power plant. But since 19 March, both the President and her husband have been going back and forth on their promise. Mr. Sahayaraj has tried to provoke the protestors on several occasions and failed. On the day that the Struggle Committee ended its indefinite hunger strike, Mr. Sahayaraj switched on the microphone after the day's protest was called to an end and began berating the media that was present there. He said that the media was mis-reporting issues and making it appear as if there are no people left in the protest pandal despite the presence of so many thousands. He declared that photographers who go around photographing empty spaces to project the struggle as weak should have their legs broken. This speech was made ostensibly to create disaffection among the media towards the struggle.
Mr. Sahayaraj is also being worked upon by two of his relatives -- Mr. Besky and Mr. Stanley -- who are reportedly DSPs in the TN Police. One is with the Q branch and another works in Theni district.
* * * * *
April 10, 2012
Greetings! The daily relay fast has been happening here without interruption. Eleven of our comrades from Koodankulam have just been released on bail and each person has been asked to post 8 individual sureties holding properties worth more than Rs. 10,000. There are 30 more people in the Trichy prison, and 2 other friends, Muhilan and Satish facing the most serious charges. It is really strange that we are being treated like terrorists even by the courts. In fact, the Maoist groups in Orissa are able to get their comrades released from prisons by taking foreigners and state legislators as hostages. While we condemn this hostage-taking, we also wonder what kind of a message does the Indian State give to our youth. Nonviolent, peaceful fighters are being hounded and harassed, but violent fighters are granted their desires and wishes freely. Is this a good trend for our country?
Pushparayan, Jesuraj and I have been living in an open quater-km-radius prison since March 19, 2012. Thousands of people sleep around our house at night in order to protect us from possible police action and mid-night arrest. Hundreds of youth protect us round the clock.
I have been suffering from haemorrhoids (piles) for the past four days and the Catholic sisters who run a small clinic here at Idinthakarai have given me the best medicines that they have. My American friends used to swear,"pain in the butt" when they had to deal with difficult people; now I know the meaning of this phrase. We all know "shit happens." But now I also know what happens when shit does not happen regularly. Oh, my! (Incidentally, please allow me to share with you a one-act play that I wrote last year and published it in a book "Peace Plays" with Professor Johan Galtung and Dr. Vital Rajan. If you like to use it in any way, please get permission from the Publisher.)
In fact, I have to see a doctor but I cannot leave this village as I would be arrested if I got out of here. All the "sedition' and "waging war against the State" cases are still there and none of them has been withdrawn. My old parents and not-so-young wife call me every hour to suggest a new remedy for my predicament and the most recently-invented medication. I am in great pain and cannot sit down, or stand up. To tell you the truth, I cannot even cough. But I must evade the police, courts, prisons, and the related agonies of nonviolent public life. At least for the time being?!
There are credible newspaper reports that charge sheets are being prepared for all the 200 plus cases against us. The police are said to be dividing us all into two groups: masterminds and innocent people. Since we, the masterminds, "instigated" the innocent people to protest against the Koodankulam nuclear power plant, we are going to be booked under all the serious charges and the "ordinary citizens" would be let off. The Central Government is preparing to start a new organization called NCTC, National Counter-Terrorism Centre, similar to the American institution, Homeland Security. Some Chief Ministers in India oppose this NCTC as it infringes on the rights of the states as 'law and order' is a state issue. We do not know what is going to happen in May when all these people meet to decide on this undemocratic and anti-democratic initiative. I can only say, God Save India! And the whatever-little-democracy we have!
On April 9, 2012, a high-level delegation from the Communist Party of India (CPI) came to visit us at Idinthakarai under the leadership of the veteran leader Comrade R. Nallakannu. The CPI is still struggling with the problem of coming to a clear cut position on nuclear power. And another veteran Communist leader from the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Comrade V.S. Achuthanandan, is scheduled to come here on April 12th. That party is also not very clear about the issue of nuclear power. But the fact that they are all coming to see us makes us a bit hopeful about achieving nuclear-free India.
S. P. Udayakumar
* * * * *
April 5, 2012
On April 4 morning a police constable by the name Mr. Murugesan from Avaraikulam village beat up one Mr. Pathira Pandi from Koodankulam claiming the latter had asked the local shopkeepers to close their shops in support of our protest. Mr. Pandi suffered severe injuries on his face and chest. Since it is futile to complain to the local police about a local policeman, his family preferred not to file any complaint. They were also afraid of more police harassment including false cases.
We hear that the local police at Koodankulam are filing FIRs on every shopkeeper who does not open his shop. This is quite a new record on the Indian State's upholding of our civil rights.
The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu had demanded all the power from the Koodankulam nuclear power plant for Tamil Nadu. Some of the Congress party leaders had also supported her claim. But the junior minister at the power ministry in Delhi has clarified that Tamil Nadu would get only 50 percent power from Koodankulam, other states would get 35 percent and the central pool would receive 15 percent. The people of Tamil Nadu expect the Chief Minister to explain her stand on the Koodankulam project now. The people of Tamil Nadu would pay a heavy price for the mega nuclear park but we will get only 50 percent power. There are plans to give electricity even to Sri Lanka from the Koodankulam project.
148 people from the coastal village of Koottapuli have been released from the prison and they were accorded a hero's welcome by the village people when they all reached their homes on April 4th evening. Earlier large crowds of people including anti-nuclear activists and cadres of several political outfits welcomed and honored them at Tiruchi and Tirunelveli. Some 50 more people may get their bail applications approved today. But there is no official word on cancelling all the false cases that have been foisted on us.
Today is the 161st day of the relay hunger strike. On the 160th day yesterday thousands of people from all the neighboring villages and even some distant towns in Tamil Nadu participated in the hunger strike.
March 27 update: at least 178 protesters charged with serious crimes, such as "waging war" against India:
* * * * *
March 27, 2012
Greetings! Ayya Pazha. Nedumaran, Vaiko, Thirumavalavan, Seeman, journalist Gnani and many many more good hearts have been asking us to stop the fast unto death immediately. Pushparayan, 13 of our comrades and I have been very very tired; three women fainted and were hospitalized yesterday. Rayan and I have some pain on our stomachs; and I have been feeling a bit dizzy. The government medical team checked on our health and found out that my pulse rate had come down. They wanted me to go to a nearby town for tertiary medical care but I refused to do that.
We have been asking the government to talk to us and this has taken 9 days for them to depute the District Collector for talks. People have chosen ten representatives from ten coastal and interior villages to go and talk to the Collector.
In the meantime, the police have charged all the 178 people from Koottapuli village with more serious case such as ‘waging war against the State' and denied us the opportunity to take them out on bail. Similarly, the other friends who are locked up in Cuddalur prison have also been re-arrested in more serious cases. The Indian State is hell bent on destroying us and sending a lesson to all the anti-nuclear, anti-globalization and other anti-government protestors around the country. The governments would pass all kinds of pro-foreigner and anti-Indian bills on crucial issues such as Food Security, Water, FDI on retail business and undertake dangerous anti-Nature and anti-Future projects and we all should keep quiet and fall in line.
The simple question we want to ask all our Indian brothers and sisters is this: do we, Indian citizens, still have the right to oppose the government's policies, programs and projects peacefully and democratically? If so, why does the Indian State want to destroy us all with cases of sedition, waging war against the State and so forth?
We have been fighting nonviolently without even a single case of violence or terror. We have not harmed or hurt or killed anybody; we have not damaged any private or public property. Then why are we being treated like this by the Indian State? Is it because our people are poor, lower caste, or most of them belong to minority communities such as Christians and Muslims? Please think of this.
What kind of message is this brutal behavior of the State sending to our youth? They cannot use either violence or nonviolence to demand their rights and entitlements; they should not complain about anything and simply help the rich become richer.
Some 70 percent of our people are poor; more than 50 percent of our people do not have toilets and basic human dignity; and some 46 percent of our infants are born malnourished and under-weight. Most of the political leaders, bureaucrats, scientists, military leaders and businessmen are robbing the people mercilessly. They are hoarding their ill-gotten wealth in Swiss banks; and they steal not just in lakhs or crores but in lakhs of crores. The poor people of India do not have even two square meals, and safe drinking water.
It is high time we, the people of India, stood up and took our country back! Cooperatively, peacefully, nonviolently and democratically! Before it is too late and we are re-colonized by Russians, Americans, the French and others.
Please save us from the cruel grip of the Indian State. We thank all our brothers and sisters who are already doing this all over the country. We need more people and more actions.
S. P. Udayakumar
* * * * *
March 25, 2012
Greetings! Pushparayan, the other 12 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 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 mayhem 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 cmapaign; 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 power? Citizens' 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
* * * * *
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.