Anti-Nuclear Struggle intesifies in Koodankulam

6th day Update from Idinthakarai Indefinite Fast Sep16th 2011

With the hunger strike crossing 6 days the situation of many of the 127 people on hunger strike in Indinthakarai is becoming more and more critical. More than 15000 people have been gathering every day for the past 6 days from 30 odd villages around Koodankulam from 3 districts Kanaykumari, Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli. The 127 fasting people are from all 3 districts. Doctors and nurse are monitoring them consistently. With the deteriorating health situation of some of the fasters the doctors are concerned that some peoples condition could go beyond control if the fast continues and fasters are not heeding to the doctors advice. If such a situation arises then the crowd who are gathering in Idinthakarai and the people in the neighbouring villages and districts could turn violent. There is a huge battalion of police personnel around Idinthakarai and neighbouring villages. There is road blockage for around 20 kms and no shops are open also. For the fifth day in succession fishermen, farmers, manual laborers, merchants of the area did not go for their jobs while students continued to boycott schools and all shops remain closed for kilometers around Idinthakarai. No food is available for the people who are gathering for the protest and most of them who return to the villages and come back the next day are day fasting also. People are losing their patience. There are false cases against 500 odd people filed by the police before the fasting started. Four people have also been put in jail.

The concern of the people in terms of the impact on people in neighbouring places is nowhere addressed to by the state and central government. One just needs to go to Kalpakkam further North in Tamil Nadu itself to understand the impact that an operating nuclear plant could have on neighbouring places. Radiation exposure has been reported within the plant many times and plant staff exposed to radiation has died also. Since plant operations began in the early 1980s, incidents of cancer and auto-immune thyroid diseases in the surrounding villages have increased considerably and many people have died also. The whole nuclear operation by the government is held in secrecy and no worthwhile information is available in public domain. With the two 1000MW reactors nearing completion Koodamkulam is going to produce 5 times more power and resulting radiation compared to Kalpakkam. Imagine the situation if all 6 reactors are allowed to function together in Koodankulam.

Meanwhile the Chief Minster of Tamil Nadu and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited officials are trying to undermine the fat and protest by issuing press releases saying that the nuclear plant if safe even to factors beyond their control and understanding like natural disasters, accidents and terrorist attacks. On the 6th day of the fast no effort from the state or central government has happened with the fasters.

In the mean time the protest is spreading to outside of Idnthakarai also. In neighboring Kanyakumari district some colleges had gone on strike. The local MP Helen Davidson’s house was picketed. The collector office in Kanaykumari was also picketed. Small protests happened in Chennai and Thoothukudi. From the neighboring villages of Koodankulam nuclear plant town ship where the staff of the plant including Russians stay the people mostly women have refused to go for work. The non violent protests that are happening is not being paid enough attention by the governments and they are playing with peoples emotions and patience.

Sajeer A R +91-9447218282
Peoples Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)

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