In utter disregard to all that is democratic, in a totally unjustifiable move, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha on 19th March gave clearance to the Koodankulam Nuclear Plant at Idinthankarai. This shocker coming soon after AIADMK winning the by-elections in Thirunalveli district exposes the true nature of this “Revolutionary Leader” as to on whose behalf she is bringing the “Revolution”(Tamil Nadu’s much abused political jargon). As if on cue, the police presence that had already swelled up in anticipation of such a move, have started to move against the protesters arresting over 200 people so far. But in a massive show of defiance, over 20,000 people from different villages nearby confronted the 6000 odd police force that had surrounded Idinthakarai village (which is located just 4 kms away from the nuclear plant).
The main target for the police was to arrest the leader and the convener of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) – S P Udaykumar, who along with other leaders who are on an indefinite fast to protest against the latest move, but an exemplary groundswell of solidarity from around 5000 fellow campaigners mainly women and children have made it clear that “if brother Udhaya Kumar is arrested, it will not be without us, we will all get arrested”.
All the roads leading to the village have now been blocked and all food, water and other emergency supplies has been cut off. In a cynical move both the Central and the State Govt., want to starve the agitation to submit and surrender. The massive police battalions in the village are terrorising the people by laying a siege on the whole village. Even media coverage has been blocked.
Jayalalitha was merely playing her populist image all along and when it was very clear that the Central government was not willing to go back on its decision to commission the plant, she had no real cards to play with them any more. Probably the government latest decision to likely vote in favour of the proposed US sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at UNHRC in Geneva on 23rd March was seen as concession enough to boost her populist image. Even before the latest developments, the fact that Tamil Nadu witnessed some of the worst power cuts ranging from 6 to 12 hrs daily was shameless ploy adopted by the state government, when everyone knew that Tamil Nadu (in a way) is a power surplus state.
As for the Congress, no words could probably describe the deceitful role that they have played all along. When the movement was at its peak, they tried to divert the attention of the people with the Mullaperiyar dam issue that saw Congress deliberatively instigating people on both sides of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, leading to attacks on Tamils in Kerala and Malayalis in Tamil Nadu. When that did not work for long, they tried to disgrace this entirely people led movement by planted seeds of NGO funding to the anti-Koodankulam protest. While no evidence of this has been presented by the Central government so far, they have used this a pretext to put under scanner all those left wing NGO’s that are involved in various pro-people struggles.
They have even carried out attacks on some of the people involved in the protest. For instance, on Jan 31st members of PMANE including 20 women activists were brutally attacked in Tirunelveli Collectorate office when they arrived there for talks with the Government expert panel. The Attack was carried out by Congress and fundamentalist Hindu Munnani thugs who have been carrying out vicious propaganda in favour of the Nuclear plant.
The biggest lie that is being propagating so far is the alleged special safety measures adopted for the Koodankulam nuclear power. No where in the world is it guaranteed that nuclear technology is 100% safe, then how is it that the top secret Indian nuclear establishment can prove otherwise. They have not even bothered to hear any of the concerns expressed by many anti nuclear experts and activists and all their expert committees, public hearings have only proved farcical so far. Nor is Russia (with its extremely bad record with respect to safety) liable in case of a nuclear accident or a fallout.
This is not merely a movement concerning people in the surrounding areas of Koodankulam alone. For the neo-liberal capitalist regime headed by Manmohan Singh this plant has become a prestige issue to set an example against the future wave of protests that are bound to come from all across the country from Jaitapur, Haripur, Kumharia, Bargi and Mithi Virdi where disastrous technology of Nuclear Energy is being forcibly brought in. The Indian established is very concerned that this protest is galvanising peoples opposition and questioning the very model of capitalist development itself.
The issue of Koodankulam anti-nuclear movement concerns everyone as nuclear radiation knows no borders and can effect anybody. What anti-Koodankulam struggle has proved so far is that, despite all the hardships endured by the protesters for over a 20 year long period, it is now possible to raise the banner of an uncompromising struggle against nuclear energy and weaponization everywhere and whatever the ruling class does now, it cannot stop the anti-nuclear wave that will surely engulf the region in the coming future.
Every section of the working class, peasantry, women & other genders, youth and students, Daliths and all other oppressed sections including religious minorities need to stand in solidarity with this movement at Kudankulam and unequivocally say no NUCLEAR ENERGY.
New Socialist Alternative
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