Sep 20, 2011
TIRUNELVELI: National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM) leader Medha Patkar visited the protest site near Kudankulam nuclear power project in Tirunelveli district on Monday and addressed more than 10,000 villagers , who have been on strike for nine days demanding closure of the plant.
Patkar, while welcoming chief minister Jayalalithaa’s letter to the prime minister asking the Union government to stop work at the site, also asked why the CM had not bothered to visit the protesters though she could depute two MPs to show solidarity with Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s fast.
Addressing the protesters, Patkar said she would meet Jayalalithaa and Union minister of state for environment and forest Jayanthi Natarajan to seek closure of the project. “Jayalalithaa should respect the people’s protest. The US wants to dump nuclear material here which is why they signed a nuclear agreement with India,” she said.
The NAPM plans to extend the strike to Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra . Medha said that any radiation from the nuclear plant was bound to affect all of south India. She claimed that the Union government cleared the project though recommendations of the National Environmental Research Institute (NERI ) were not followed. She said that waste from the plant would be dumped in the sea damaging marine environment.
Patkar also visited Kanyakumari , where fishermen conducted a day-long hunger strike in solidarity with the agitation in Indindakarai.
More than 100 people have been on a hunger strike for over a week. At least 11 persons were admitted in hospital and their condition is critical. The protest that started as a localised struggle has gradually drawn in people from Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari and now, anti-nuclear activists from across the country have declared solidarity with the strike.