The village of Koodankulam remain tense on Tuesday, a day after a fisherman was killed in the police firing during protest against the loading of uranium at the nuclear reactor.
Democratic, non-violent struggle is being crushed by the joint action of both Central and state governments. Police resorted to lathi-charge and burst tear gas shells on Monday to foil the attempts of protesters to lay siege to the atomic power plant against loading of uranium fuel.
Women protesters alleged that police targetted them and their children during the clashes on Monday.
Condeming the police action, People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, spearheading the protest against KNPP, announced a 48-hour relay fast against it. BJP lashed out at the police action and held the UPA government at Centre responsible for the “riot-like situation” in Koodankulam.
The protesters gave the call for the siege as a last-ditch effort to stall the Indo-Russian project after regulatory authorites gave their nod for loading the uranium fuel in the first of the two reactors.
Here is a statement by PUCL condemning police action on the protesters:
PUCL strongly condemns the police attack on protesters against nuclear plant in Koodankulam-Idindhakarai area on 10th Sep.2012. This attack is utter violation of human rights. People of Koodankulam have been protesting in a non-violent way for over 390 days. They have the right to protest in a democratic way.
While the cases against Koodankulam atomic power station have been dismissed in Chennai High Court, people have the right to appeal in Supreme Court against the judgement. It is undemocratic to immediately load fuel to nuclear plant without giving enough time for the appeal. It is to be noted that Koodankulam plant doesn’t satisfy international norms. There are many illegalities too.
We learn from the news reports that a fisherman has been killed in police firing in Tuticorin. This shows the scant respect of police and state authority over the concerns of local residents about the safety of KKNP and utter indifference of central and state governments to the safety issues which gains relevance in the background of Fukushima atomic plant accident in 2011.
Democratic, non-violent struggle is being crushed by the joint action of both Central and state governments. People including children and women have been lathi charged and lobbed by tear gas shells. Protest leaders have been targeted. Government has unleashed the fear of state terrorism in fishermen villages. These actions are equivalent to Thamirabarani and Nandigram incidents.
State police has been prosecuting protesters under sedition (124A IPC), waging war against India (121 IPC), conspiracy (120-B IPC) and other draconian provisions of penal law. We fail to understand how people expressing fear over the safety of KKNP be construed as anti national, acting or waging war against India. This flagrant abuse of the law by the state police to crush the democratic aspirations of people and to stifle all expressions of fundamental right is highly condemnable. It is unconstitutional and anti-democratic.
We demand that the police should vacate the area immediately and all the charges on protesters be dropped.
S.Balamurugan, State Secretary PUCL Tamil Nadu