Koodankulam Struggle Update (August 17, 2011)

We held another day-long hunger strike at Koodankulam yesterday. Parents did not send their children to schools; fishermen from the neighboring fishing villages did not go to the sea. The shops were closed for the whole day.

When the police was preparing to come down on us heavily with tear gas and water canons, we established contact with them in order to protect the people. A team of six people and a few senior police officers engaged in a dialogue. They asked for a struggle committee of 10 people to deal with directly and our demands to be taken to the government. They agreed to postpone the safety drills slated for August 27-28 and asked us not to conduct any strikes or protests until September 7, 2011. We asked for the complete closure of the Koodankulam nuclear power plant and the withdrawal of false cases foisted on our comrades. These are yet to be fulfilled.

As we get some twenty days, we are establishing struggle committees in all the farming and fishing villages; conducting special prayers in all the villages to stop the plant; and organizing workshops on the dangers of nuclear power plants and bombs.

Instead of being like a caring mother or father with a ready ear for our our fears and concerns, the government behaves like a thug with iron fists and treats us as some kind of unwanted and anti-social elements. It is indeed a shame. We will keep you posted. Please keep us in your thoughts.

For a nuclear-free world,
S. P. Udayakumar


Villagers fast for closure of KKNPP


TIRUNELVELI: The agitation against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) has turned into a mass movement as around 10,000 villagers from 13 coastal villages staged a fast at Idinthakarai on Tuesday, demanding immediate closure of the plant.  It may be noted that protests demanding closure of KKNPP have intensified in the past one week, with people from Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi and Kanyakumari districts coming together for the agitation. “The agitation has become a great success as more people than expected participated in the fast,” Fr Jayakumar of Idinthakarai said.

Villagers from Koodankulam, Idinthakarai, Kootapuli, Periyathalai, Manapad, Levinjipuram, Kooduthalai, Vijayapathy, Uvari, Kootapanai, Perumanal, Kaamaneri, Kurinkikulam, participated in the protest.

“These villages include a few from Thoothukudi and Kanyakumari districts also,” he said, adding, “a three-day fast would be staged at Koodankulam from Wednesday.” Apart from the fast, around 5,000 country boat fishermen stayed away from sea and students of these villages boycotted classes also.

“Shops were also closed in Koodankulam and Idinthakarai villages and black flags were hoisted to show their opposition,” a protestor said. It may be recalled that around four villages in Tirunelveli district and one in Thoothukudi passed a resolution demanding immediate closure of KKNPP, during the Gram Sabha meeting held on Monday.

Anti-nuclear activist M Pushparayan said that a committee comprising members from Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi and Kanyakumari was formed on Tuesday. “The committee was formed to make the agitation against KKNPP effective with the coordination of people from these three districts.The fast came to an end by 5 pm, following which they submitted a petition.

In the petition, they stressed a four-point charter, which includes permanent closure of KKNPP, suspension of the ongoing ‘hot run’, stopping the proposed safety drill that is scheduled for August 28 and withdrawal of cases foisted against the agitators. “People from these three districts will participate in the three-day fast at Koodankulam that is set to begin from Wednesday,” Sahaya Initha of National Fisherwomen Federation informed.



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