“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
People’s protest in Koodankulam is intensifying with every passing day. The sheer energy of this non-violent movement – with huge participation of women, transparent and innovative ways of horizontal mobilisation, campaigning and resource-generation has forced the governments, the political leadership of all colors and the media to admit the genuine concerns of people. The blatant attempts to malign the movement as ‘foreign-funded’, church-driven etc. have started sounding ridiculous and totally unconvincing even in the most distant and indifferent corners of the country.
Even while opening dialogue with the protesters, the government kept beefing up police cases on them – including charges of sedition – to intimidate them. The govt agencies and its supportive media raked up malicious stories about funding, motives and leadership of the movement.
Instead of replying to peoples wide-ranging questions, govt relied on the persona of techno-patriarchs to assure people about the safety of the Koodankulam reactors. The Central Govt expert committee’s report clearly avoided all important questions on some or other technical/legal/procedural grounds. In a well-attended seminar in Kanyakumari on Dec 29, the People’s Expert Panel again raised these questions with the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister throough its memorandum.
Coming days are going to be crucial for Koodankulam. Even as the dialogues with the movement representatives were on, our Prime Minister assured during his visit to Russia about commissioning of the reactor in two weeks ! People in Koodankulam are apprehensive of repression. We must stand with them strongly. Its a struggle to save people’s lives and livelihoods and an alternative vision of a sustainable and equitable society.
Here are some pictures from January 1 protest in Idithakarai village, Koodankulam: