Nation Wants an Answer !!
New Delhi, May 14 : Yesterday politicians across party lines came together to celebrate the functioning of 60 years of Indian Parliament and appealed for co-operation, peace and respect for diverse, dissenting and plural voices for the healthy functioning of the democracy and progress of the country. NAPM together with many like-minded organizations and individuals would like to ask the Indian Parliament why are they suppressing, criminalising and dishonouring one of the most determined, non-violent and secular struggles for Life and Livelihood in post-independence India – the valiant fight of fisher people, peasants, workers, traders and other walks of life against the VVER 1000 MW nuclear reactors in Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu. It is utterly painful to see not only the massive sufferings of a people under siege and blockade, but also the strangulation of democracy and of faith in the human capacity to reason.
The viability of nuclear energy is today deeply in question in the light of Three Miles Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima and many other incidents of radiation through nuclear tests and so-called minor accidents, which nobody even wants to mention. Japan has at present closed down all its reactors and Germany and many other countries are determined to abandon this dangerous technology. They are fully investing in renewable options. In contrast to this, the Indian P.M. holds that the “thinking part” of the population is for the nuclear option, where as the “non-thinking” part, i.e. the ignorant and superstitious masses, are against it. Is that really so ?
Quite irrespective of the pros and cons of the nuclear option, it is obvious that the Indian policies are extremely dangerous, because the nuclear establishment functions without an independent safety mechanism. There is no independent commission or institution to appeal to. The nuclear establishment with its massive vested interest is the final authority on all things nuclear. No independent commission can assess the safety situation objectively, listening to critics and to the anguish of local people. But independent experts and people need to be heard, transparency needs to be achieved.
We therefore fully endorse the eleven demands of the PMANE Struggle Committee, released during the indefinite fast started on May 1, 2012. We especially salute the women of Idinthkarai and other coastal villages, who have been the backbone of this valiant struggle for Life throughout. We also salute their children, who similar to children in the anti- POSCO struggle in Odisha, have attended the school of life on the burning sand. We salute the men of the fishing community, especially since in a culture of physically taming the elements, non-violent struggle was not sung at their cradle. We salute the struggle committee, their supporters and families, who have held out under extremely demanding conditions.
We appeal to the Central Government, the State government, all other political parties and the coercive forces employed by them to remember their responsibility to honour non-violent struggle and not to destroy democratic spaces. We appeal to all people with faith in democracy and human rights to honour this uprising for Life and to support it and to let it turn the tide towards a different kind of society, not ruled by greed, caste and creed, accumulation and violence. This is a beacon to lead us towards decentralized sustainable energy options, a balanced life style which respects nature and human dignity and right to work and truly participatory democracy. Destroying this struggle is a political Harakiri of the State, which will breed cynicism, despair and violence.
In the spirit of the Freedom Struggle, of the Indian Constitution and the myriad of uprisings against destructive development, we appeal to the whole nation and to the world to support us in the endeavour to protect the Earth from the danger of a nuclear holocaust through weapons, accidents, unresolved waste disposal, sabotage or natural disaster. The Fate of the Earth is at stake. We do not want the End of History. We want future generations to be able to remember the struggles which have transformed this world into a livable society, with equity, solidarity, compassion, to be cherished in Peace and in the Spirit of Sharing.
Medha Patkar, Gabriele Dietrich, Geetha Ramakrishnan, Prafulla Samantara, Maj. Gen (Retd.) Sudhir Vombatkere, Sandeep Pandey, Sister Celia, P Chennaiah, Arundhati Dhuru, Ramakrishnan Raju, Sarasvathy Kavula, Anand Mazgaonkar, Vimal Bhai, Gautam Bandopadhyay, Mukta Srivastava, Rajendra Ravi, Madhuresh Kumar