koodankulam-eminent-women-poster

Press Release

14 November, 2012
Eminent Women Urge the Immediate Release of the 3 Women of Idinthakarai

Nearly a 100 prominent Indian women have written to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and the National Commission for Women urging them to facilitate the release of three Idinthakarai women — Xavier Ammal, Selvi and Sundari. All three imprisoned women are fore-runners in the 15-month long struggle against the Koodankulam nuclear power plant.

The list of signatories includes notable senior writers, scientists, advocates, thinkers, artists and feminists including Mahasweta Devi, Aruna Roy, Romila Thapar, Vandana Shiva, Mallika Sarabhai, Lalita Ramdas, Medha Patkar, Pamela Philipose, Vrinda Grover, Devaki Jain, Kalpana Kannabiran and Shabnam Hashmi. The letter was in reaction to to what the signatory women termed as “the increasing hostility of the various agencies of the State to democratic dissent, and the particular viciousness with which non-violent protests are being addressed.”

The letter endorsed by the women stated that the women’s “alleged crime was an act that most women would commit intuitively, namely acting to protect their families, their communities and their future generations.”

The Idinthakarai trio is currently in the Trichy Women’s prison, facing several charges including of sedition and waging war against the state, in six cases. They have already spent a month in jail, with the police bringing up fresh cases at each bail hearing. Most recently, three new cases based on earlier FIRs were registered and warrants served on the jailed women on 9 November, 2012. The letter noted the discrepancy between the FIRs’ claims that protestors were carrying aruvals (sickles), crowbars and other deadly weapons, and the TV footage from the police crackdown of 10 September which carries no substantiation of these allegations.

Women and other supporters from across the country have said they will visit the three women in jail, and work towards their speedy release.

For more information, contact:

Geetha V. — 9840998517 (Chennai Solidarity Group for Koodankulam Struggle)

Letter to Tamil Nadu CM and National Commission for Women 

To: Selvi Jayalalitha,
Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
Fort St. George, Chennai 600 009

To: Ms Mamta Sharma,
National Commission on Women
No. 4, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Marg
New Delhi-110 002.

Date: Nov 14, 2012

Dear Sisters

We are writing to urge you to facilitate the speedy release of three courageous women — Xavier Ammal, Selvi and Sundari — of Idinthakarai who are currently in the Trichy Women’s Prison. Their alleged crime was an act that most women would commit intuitively, namely acting to protect their families, their communities and their future generations. Xavier Amma, Selvi and Sundari are strong, though gentle, women who have worked hard to keep their families together by rolling beedis, and selling fish. When the occasion demanded, as it did with the impending commissioning of the Koodankulam reactors post-Fukushima, the unanswered questions about its safety galvanised the women from villages around Koodankulam into action. Among those thousands of women, these three have clearly stood out as leaders.

Following the September 11 police crackdown on the dharna by villagers opposed to nuclear energy, the police have arrested many villagers, including those who were in no way part of the protests. Across the board, the FIRs record that the villagers were armed with deadly weapons like “aruval (machetes), knives, sticks and crowbars.” Television footage of the September protests and police action bear testimony to the fact that the protestors were unarmed. Xavier Amma injured her hand after she ran and fell into the sea to escape the baton-wielding police. Both Selvi and Sundari have children that need taking care of. Selvi’s son is epileptic. It is indeed absurd that such women have been arbitrarily accused of sedition and waging war against the state. While releasing tens of others on bail at the same hearing of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, it is unclear as to why only these three have been denied bail.

We, the under-signed, are women from different walks of life who are very concerned at the increasing hostility of the various agencies of the State to democratic dissent, and the particular viciousness with which non-violent protests are being addressed. We are writing to urge you to kindly act to restore justice by releasing these three women so that they can join their families, and by facilitating the return of a sense of normalcy in the villages around Koodankulam.

Sincerely

1

Aruna Roy

2

Dr. Devaki Jain

3

Dr. Kalpana Kannabiran

4

Dr. Romila Thapar

5

Dr. Vandana Shiva

6

Lalita Ramdas

7

Mahasweta Devi

8

Mallika Sarabhai

9

Medha Patkar

10

Shabnam Hashmi

11

Vrinda Grover

12

A. Mangai

13

Abha Bhaiya

14

Albertina Almeida

15

Alice Slater

16

Amala Akkineni,

17

Ambika P

18

Ammu Joseph

19

Amrita Shodhan

20

Anita Thampi

21

Anitha Sharma

22

Arati Chokshi

23

Asha G

24

Asmita Basu

25

Chinmayee

26

D W Karuna

27

Dr Jyothi Krishnan

28

Dr Kaveri Indira

29

Dr S Santhi

30

Dr Sagari Ramdas,

31

Dr Sharmila Rege,

32

Dr Usha S. Naik,

33

G. Arunima,

34

Geetanjal Gangoli

35

Girija Adam

36

Indeera Chand

37

Indira C

38

J. Devika

39

Jaya Velankar

40

K. Ajitha

41

K. Saradamoni

42

Kalpana Mehta

43

Kamayani Bali Mahabal

44

Karen Coelho

45

Kavitha Kuruganti

46

Lata singh

47

Madhmitta Dutta,

48

Madhuri Krisnaswamy

49

Mary E John,

50

Meera Uday Kumar

51

Nandini Manjerakar,

52

Nandini Rao

53

Nasreen Fazalbhoy

54

Navya PK

55

Neera

56

Pamela Philippose,

57

Parvathy Shankar

58

Pinki

59

Primila Lewis

60

Prithi Turakhia

61

Ramlath Kavil

62

Ranjini Krishnan

63

Rupashri Sinha

64

Sadhna Arya

65

Sandhya Gokhale

66

Saraswati

67

Savitri,

68

Seeta Dasan

69

Sheba George

70

Soma KP

71

Sonia George

72

Sudha Bharadwaj,

73

Supriya Madangarli

74

Swarna Rajagopalan

75

Trupti Shah

76

Uma Chakravarthi

77

Uma V Chandru,

78

Usha.S

79

V M Girija

80

V. Geetha,

81

Vasanth Kannabiran

82

Vidya Vasant Patil

83

Vineeta Bal

84

Gowri Chinappa

85

Dr Mallika Ramdas

86

Susie Tharu

87

Kaveri Indira

88

Navya PK

89

Angeli Alvarez

90

Saraswati Kavula

91

Charanya

92

Jaya Vindhyala