Idinthakarai Update
April 10, 2012

Greetings! The daily relay fast has been happening here without interruption. Eleven of our comrades from Koodankulam have just been released on bail and each person has been asked to post 8 individual sureties holding properties worth more than Rs. 10,000. There are 30 more people in the Trichy prison, and 2 other friends, Muhilan and Satish facing the most serious charges. It is really strange that we are being treated like terrorists even by the courts. In fact, the Maoist groups in Orissa are able to get their comrades released from prisons by taking foreigners and state legislators as hostages. While we condemn this hostage-taking, we also wonder what kind of a message does the Indian State give to our youth. Nonviolent, peaceful fighters are being hounded and harassed, but violent fighters are granted their desires and wishes freely. Is this a good trend for our country?

Pushparayan, Jesuraj and I have been living in an open quarter-km-radius prison since March 19, 2012. Thousands of people sleep around our house at night in order to protect us from possible police action and mid-night arrest. Hundreds of youth protect us round the clock.

I have been suffering from haemorrhoids (piles) for the past four days and the Catholic sisters who run a small clinic here at Idinthakarai have given me the best medicines that they have. My American friends used to swear,”pain in the butt” when they had to deal with difficult people; now I know the meaning of this phrase. We all know “shit happens.” But now I also know what happens when shit does not happen regularly. Oh, my! (Incidentally, please allow me to share with you a one-act play that I wrote last year and published it in a book “Peace Plays” with Professor Johan Galtung and Dr. Vital Rajan. If you like to use it in any way, please get permission from the Publisher.)

SP Udayakumar, Coordinator, People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy

In fact, I have to see a doctor but I cannot leave this village as I would be arrested if I got out of here. All the “sedition’ and “waging war against the State” cases are still there and none of them has been withdrawn. My old parents and not-so-young wife call me every hour to suggest a new remedy for my predicament and the most recently-invented medication. I am in great pain and cannot sit down, or stand up. To tell you the truth, I cannot even cough. But I must evade the police, courts, prisons, and the related agonies of nonviolent public life. At least for the time being?!

There are credible newspaper reports that charge sheets are being prepared for all the 200 plus cases against us. The police are said to be dividing us all into two groups: masterminds and innocent people. Since we, the masterminds, “instigated” the innocent people to protest against the Koodankulam nuclear power plant, we are going to be booked under all the serious charges and the “ordinary citizens” would be let off. The Central Government is preparing to start a new organization called NCTC, National Counter-Terrorism Centre, similar to the American institution, Homeland Security. Some Chief Ministers in India oppose this NCTC as it infringes on the rights of the states as ‘law and order’ is a state issue. We do not know what is going to happen in May when all these people meet to decide on this undemocratic and anti-democratic initiative. I can only say, God Save India! And the whatever-little-democracy we have!

On April 9, 2012, a high-level delegation from the Communist Party of India (CPI) came to visit us at Idinthakarai under the leadership of the veteran leader Comrade R. Nallakannu. The CPI is still struggling with the problem of coming to a clear cut position on nuclear power. And another veteran Communist leader from the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Comrade V.S. Achuthanandan, is scheduled to come here on April 12th. That party is also not very clear about the issue of nuclear power. But the fact that they are all coming to see us makes us a bit hopeful about achieving nuclear-free India.

S. P. Udayakumar