Statement by the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi’s Democratic Students Union (DSU) against arrest of a team, including its student-activists, in Koodankulam

DSU strongly condemns the illegal detention and slapping of baseless charges on the members of a fact finding team to Kudankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu. The members of the team included Priyadharshini (DSU, JNU), Keshavan( CPCL), K. Palanisamy (Anti-imperialist Movement), Jagan (SUMS), Agradi (Women’s Uprising Movement), Pratima (lawyer, Odisha), Damodar and Arvind (Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Manch, Jharkhand). The team was detained at Nanguneri in the morning of 12th October, which is 20 km away from Kudankulam and does not even fall under the 144 zone which has been declared within 7 km radius of Kudankulam. Yet the police detained them first for “illegal assembly”. After a day long detention, at night the police framed them under baseless and draconian charges. They have been booked under sections 143, 188, 194(B), 353,362, 506(i), R/W 7(1)A-CLA act. Some of these charges are non-bailable and the CLA Act in particular is a draconian act. The team members have been taken to Palayamkottai prison, and will be produced in court in Tirunelveli on Monday.

While more than hundred people, mainly students gathered in Coimbatore in protest of this brazen illegal arrest of the team, the police ushered in repression on the demonstration and remanded 15 protesters, all of whom are students and members of the organization SUMS.

This deplorable act of repression only brings out yet again the utterly undemocratic and anti-people character of the Indian state as well as the Tamil Nadu state government. The people of Kudankulam have been bravely fighting against the nuclear power plant there for months now. The government instead of responding to their just demands and concerns for the immense security risk and the environmental hazard that this plant can cause on the surrounding area, has responded with the most cruel repression on the protesting masses. Their attempt to restrict and repress this fact finding team also clearly shows how they do not want the people to speak out or even know about the conditions in Kudankulam or about the valiant movement the people are fighting there. The government is simply trying to intimidate and throttle all voices of solidarity and support to the people fighting against Kudankulam nuclear plant.

We condemn in strongest possible terms this fascist tactics of the state to break larger people’s unity with fighting masses. We demand the immediate and unconditional release of the members of the Fact-finding team and the students in Coimbatore, while reiterating our larger demand of the scrapping of the nuclear power plant in Kudankulam.