With no signs of dampening of people’s morale in Idithakarai, the situation in Koodankulam is getting crucial. In response, the government has pitched up its intimidation.
Protesters being arrested while health of fasting activists worsen
At Idinthakarai, the ground zero of the protests, the indefinite fast of 15 people including Dr. S P Udayakumar, Pushparayan and others, entered 6th day on Saturday. The people observing hunger-strike also include seven women.
The health condition of fasting activists is on a constant decline, particularly the falling blood pressure of Pushparayan is a big concern.
The immediate demands of the hunger-strikers in Idinthakarai are:
- Release of 10 activists arrested on March 19th from Koodankulam,
- Removal of the heavy police deployment in the area and adherence to AERB guidelines for commissioning of reactors that includes elaborate safety drills and other steps.
While the Additional Director-General of Police (Tamil Nadu) claimed that situation in Koodankulam is ‘normal’ and police has not obstructed mobility of people and goods, the people in the region are intimidated by heavy police presence and arbitrary arrests of activists, slapping serious charges of sedition and war on Indian state.
Vanni Arasu was picked up on his way from Chennai to Madurai at midnight. Another anti-Koodankulam activist, Satish Kumar was picked up at Tirunelveli on Friday. Neither their location nor the charges under which they were arrested is known so far.
Wide support base strengthens struggle
On March 23, 2012, concerned citizens, anti-nuclear groups and civil society organisations all over India observed a national day of protest supporting the people in Tamil Nadu opposing the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP).
One-day hunger strike was organised in Pune, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and other places of the country.
In Chennai, the Koodankulam Support Group’s hunger strike entered third day on Saturday.
The National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM) held a day long sit-in and hunger protest at Jantar Mantar near the Indian parliament in New Delhi.
There is widespread comdemnation of the government’s repression and intimidation tactics.
The National Fishworkers Federation sent an open letter to the Prime Minister on Friday saying:
“We write to you, from all the coastal states of India, to express the fishworker community’s anger over the decision of your government to forcefully go ahead with the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, which is being set up in Idindakarai, Tamil Nadu. We would like to remind you that this project is not something that has been evolved with the consent of the affected populations and smacks of absolute colonial attitude of a dictatorial regime, which does not care for the opinion of the subjects.”