"Government should desist from repression of struggle at Kudankulam"

In a press release dated March 19th 2012, the The Kudankulam Antinuclear Struggle Support Group, Keralam said: "As the Tamil Nadu Government has shown the green signal today for the commissioning of the Kudankulam nuclear plant, thousands of policemen have been deployed at Kudankulam and they have arrested about 150 activists. It has become clear that the government is using high handed methods to suppress the struggle.

Struggle leaders including Advocate Sivasubrahmaniam, have been arrested today.

Dr S. P. Udayakumar of the National Alliance of Anti-Nuclear Movements (NAAM) and Pushparayan have started an indefinite hunger strike in protest against the repression. They are demanding withdrawal of the police force and immediate release of the arrested. People are gathering at Kudankulam in thousands in spite of police blockade of all highways and helicopter patrolling.

The Government of India, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) and the KKNPP have so far not conducted any emergency preparation drills or evacuation exercises for people within 30 km radius of the plant 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. The nuclear authorities have ca violated even this statutory provision. The hollowness of the government’s assurances of ‘safety’ is further revealed by Russia’s unwillingness to accept even the very limited liability our laws envisage, in case of an accident.

The Kudankulam struggle is against inflicting on the Indian people, a technology that has been too expensive, dangerous and threatening. The people are strongly united in their struggle against the nuclear plant, but the government is insisting on going ahead with the project. By suppressing the Kudankulam struggle with an ‘iron fist’, it wants to demonstrate to its international masters that the promise of nuclear parks all over India will be fulfilled and the business deal of approximately Rs 4 lakh crore envisaged by the Indo-American nuclear pact can be realized, even by resorting to violence against peaceful protesters.

We condemn the anti-democratic and repressive measures of the authorities and express our strong support to the valiant struggle against the plant. As it is a struggle, not merely against a nuclear project but for protecting democracy itself, we request all like-minded people to lend support to the struggle in all possible ways".

(Pictures of peaceful all night protests courtesy: Arati Chokshi, PUCL-Bangalore)

Pushpa Achanta

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