September 11, New Delhi: Today the world is mourning the death of victims of wanton acts of terrorism ten years ago in New York. But on September 9th while planning for a massive hunger strike on September 11, a non-violent action against the violence unleashed on them by nuclear power plants, the villagers of Idinthakarai village, had to face illegal arrests and beating by the Tamilnadu police. Police arrested three people and beat some of them in a clear attempt to not allow the protests. They even blocked the traffic on the main road near the Koodankulam bus stand. Today even as they hold their public meeting and observe fast, electricity and water connection to the site has been cut off. So, much for the world’s largest democracy, and the right to peaceful assembly and protest ! Perhaps, the government will make all provisions for holding anniversaries when any such disasters happen. NAPM condemns such action by the local administration and demand immediate action against the erring officials.
After the accidents at the Nuclear reactors in Fukushima, briefly everyone’s attention was turned to the grave danger these reactors pose to the civilised society but things are back to the same be it Mithi Virdi, Gujarat; Jaitapur, Maharashtra; Chutkha, Madhya Pradesh; Kovada, Andhra Pradesh; Fatheabad, Haryana ; or Koddankulam in Tamilnadu. People’s Movements across the country have stood in solidarity with the people who are struggling against these power plants and continue to struggle for scrapping of these projects, but even then government continues to harass and unleash violence on them.
The Koodankulam plants have untested and unreliable VVER (Vodo-Vodyanoi Energetichesky Reactor; Water-Water Energetic Reactor) 1000 technology imported from Russia. It is pertinent to note that Russia has not built a new nuclear power plant ever since the Chernobyl accident that happened in April 1986. The Indian government is buying Russian reactors at an exorbitant price in order to procure Russian submarines for the country’s navy, to protect our nuclear warheads. This kind of deals and the humongous amount of money that is spent on the nuclear program with littler transparency, accountability and democratic decision-making perpetuate so much corruption and malpractices. Nuclear business is easily one of the most corrupt sectors in India today. With privatization and proliferation of American Russian and French power plants, it will get much worse.
When many countries around the world are reconsidering their energy policy and adopting New Energy and renewable energy sources, it is unfortunate that the Indian government is resorting to unsafe and expensive nuclear technology. Instead of being a world leader with alternative energy sources, Indian government is putting the corporate interests ahead of its own citizens’ interests.
In the light of this situation, we call for scrapping the Koodankulam nuclear power plants, and safeguard the rights to life and livelihood of our fisher people, farmers and dalit workers. We affirm people’s right to resist and call on the Central Government to take a clue from decision making in European countries who work towards comprehensive renewable energy options.
Medha Patkar, Sandeep Pandey, Gabriele Dietrich, Geetha Ramakrishnan, Prafulla Samantara, Maj Gen Sudhir Vombatkere, Suniti S R, Sister Celia, Dr. Sunilam, P Chennaiah, Ramakrishna Raju, Sarasvathy Kavula, Suhas Kolhekar, Akhil Gogoi, Anand Mazgaonkar, Mukta Srivastava, Rajendra Ravi, Madhuresh Kumar
—National Alliance of People’s Movements
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