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Koodankulam Update: Arrests of Peaceful Protesters Under the Sedition Law in Tamil Nadu, India

March 20, 2012

[Previous post on Koodankulam here.]

Check DiaNuke for latest update on the ongoing crackdown of protesters.

Latest Update: 20,000 People Start Hunger Strike in Koodankulam, including Children

Here’s a facebook update shared by activists in Koodankulam (Tamil Nadu):

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

Here is an update given on March 19th (the previous day) on Facebook.

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

There are protests planned all over Kerala:

Trivandrum PROTEST on koodamkulam issue, at Secretariat State Legislative Assembly @ 10.00 am March 21 Wednesday. bring friends and come. think about future plans. Contact 9847439290, 9447429243

Calicut PROTEST on koodamkulam issue, at Mananchira Central Library @ 5.00 pm tomorrow. bring friends and come. think about future plans. 9446068843

THRISSUR PROTEST on koodamkulam issue, at thekke gopuranada @ 5.30 pm tomorrow. bring friends and come. think about future plans. 9496523851

Previous media coverage on the latest news from Koodankulam:

LA Times: India government responds bluntly to anti-nuclear push

The Hindu: Police crack whip on anti-Kudankulam protest

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