The Interim Findings and Reccomendations of the Indian People’s Tribunal can be accessed HERE

The Indian People’s Tribunal concluded its three day session, starting from September 17 to 19, 2011, in the village of Mithgavane, Ratnagiri District. Early this year the people of the villages surrounding the nuclear power plant had requested the IPT to conduct a hearing in order that they be given a chance to voice their opinion freely about the proposed nuclear power plant, the impact of the plant on their lives and livelihood and the responses of the State to their democratic and peaceful dissent.

The IPT has been existence since 1993 and has conducted numerous hearings on varied issues – from the misuse of POTA; the Impact of the World Bank in India; Rise of Fascism; Atrocities among Dalits and several others. In all these years there has never been a response by the State as in this one. When the IPT was proposed in March 2011 a letter was sent to the Collector, the IPT was surprised to hear that it was denied permission to enter the villages and in response the local administration put up check posts in all villages, started arbitrarily arresting the local leaders, some of the other villagers and workers; and applied section 144 over large parts of the district.

Thereafter the IPT went to the High Court and the High Court directed the IPT to
once again apply for permission, this too was rejected. The Court, however favourably heard the case and gave the IPT permission to hold the hearing in the local area as it was important the democratic voices of the people not be suppressed. It also added a condition that the IPT should restrict the number of people attending to 60.

The response to the tribunal was very positive, people living around nuclear power plants and mines in the other States traveled for several days to attend; those who could not attend due to heavy rain extended their support. Over 150 groups endorsed the process and many of the supporting organisations came to Mithgavane to extend their solidarity.

During the three days the local people from the affected villages deposed, people from the other States also shared the issues they were grappling with. In particular the deposition of Tarapur and Jharkhand proved very important as it gave an idea of what will happen to the local communities should nuclear power plants and mines come into existence. Experts too deposed adding depth and understanding to the proceedings.