JNU Students Arrested in Koodankulam Continue to Be Harrassed

The independent fact finding team of lawyers, activists and students, including some of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, who were arrested in Koodankulam on October 12th by the local police. Here is a pamphlet of the Democratic Students Union, JNU describing their unending plight:

The people of Kudankulam have been struggling against the nuclear power plant amidst violent state repression, arrests and killings. A wide cross-section of the people including intellectuals, scientists, social activists let alone common people have raised serious questions and security concerns over the plant in particular and the anti-people nature of nuclear energy in general. The desperation of the state in pushing forward the nuclear plant unleashing severe repression on the protesting people have brought forth the larger imperialist interests that are involved behind this project. In this context a 11 member All India Fact-finding team comprising advocates, journalists, human rights activists and students (including Priyadharshini from DSU) reached Tirunalveli on the 12 October to take stock of the situation and extend solidarity to the people.

As the team proceeded to Valliyur in a public transport bus, the local police stopped the bus at Nanguneri toll gate, 40 km from Kudankulam. They were forced out of the bus and illegally detained by the police citing section 144 despite the fact that section 144 was enforced only at a radius of 7 kms around Kudamkulam. They were taken to a marriage hall at Nanguneri, locked up and interrogated for over 11 hours amongst more than 50 police men and women officers. The police then created a drama by producing them before the magistrate late night slapping sections 143, 188, 294 (b), 353, 332, 506 (1), IPC, r/w 7 (1)(A) CLA act. The police threw all procedures to the wind so as to conjure up a sensational story as they hatched up charges like section 294 (b) which is nothing but singing obscene songs!

After 8 days of our incarceration in Tamil Nadu prisons—1 day in custody, 3 days in Kokkirakulum sub-jail, 4 days in Tiruchi Central Jail—they were finally released on conditional bail. The conditional bail demanded that they sign twice a day in Nanguneri police station for ten days from October 22. The court ruling on October 29th has extended this period to another two weeks. Seven out of eleven members of the team are not residents of Tamil Nadu and are facing difficulties. Not only are they being harassed by the intelligence agencies, but they are also being followed constantly. Be it the hotel, tea shop, bus or bus stop or even wash rooms they are being stalked and harassed by the intelligence agencies. The IB also intimidated those who came forward to give them shelter. The lawlessness of the state is evident from the simple fact that more than 5000 people from Kudunkulam have been charged with sedition for protesting for the right to their lives and livelihoods.

In connivance with the lawless police is the sensation driven media who have indulged in a vicious media trial of all the fact-finding members. Some news agencies have gone to the extent of hatching up white lies such as they are naxalites and Maoists working with banned organizations. Such a motivated, false propaganda against the fact finding team is very much symptomatic of the media trial meted out to the dalits and Adivasis and Muslims who often become easy target of the state’s so-called ‘war against terror’.

The events since 12th October 2012 and the continuing harassment the fact finding team members are facing only brings to light the extreme repression on democratic voices and the desperation of the state to prevent any solidarity reaching the struggling people of Kudunkulam. We appeal to all democratic people to stand in solidarity with team members and the Kudankulam movement and condemn strongly the state repression on activists and the people of Kudunkulam.






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