Koodankulam Update: Assailants Turn Victims

Nityanand Jayaraman

The state’s propaganda and witch-hunt has taken a fresh and disturbing turn with an engineered FIR filed by the husband of Vijayapathi Panchayat President and his brother Stalin. Please see the links here and here.

I spoke to V. Pushparayan at 1015 a.m. today. According to media reports, a gang instigated by Pushparayan and Udayakumar, attacked and injured Sahayaraj (President’s husband) and Stalin (Sahayaraj’s brother) at 830 p.m. on 14 April, 2012. The above two media reports do not even bother to interview the people accused of this alleged crime. The allegation is made into a fact, as if the reporter had observed the attack.

Here’s the version from Idinthakarai.

1. On Saturday, in the morning, the Struggle Committee received a letter from the Panchayat President making it seem as if the protestors are standing in the way of legitimate functioning and administration of the Panchayat.

2. At between 6 and 7 p.m., Sahayaraj and a few others went to the space that is being used as a public bathing area and toilet by the protestors. Sahayaraj picked up a fight with the women gathered there, shut off the water, locked off access to the toilets, and took away the keys from Mr. Suganthan, a differently abled person. The toilets are actually a women’s toilet constructed specifically for women. The abused the women using vulgar language and Mr. Sahayaraj threatened them saying no woman should use these toilets from Sunday onwards. Ms. Sahaya Initha, Councillor of 13th ward, who spoke to me on phone said that the toilets were opened this morning after the women threatened to complain to the BDO.

3. As narrated by Sahaya Initha to me over phone: “There are 450 houses in CASA Nagar. The residents have been purchasing drinking water at Rs. 2.50 per pot. Salt water for other purposes is pumped from a borewell to an overhead tank in the colony. This water is provided to residents for 3 hours every other day. Water has to be stored to meet all purposes other than drinking within these three hours. At around 7.15 p.m. on Saturday, Mr. Sahayaraj accompanied by Stalin, Bosco, Inniyasi, Sagayam and Xavier, went to CASA Nagar, a tsunami rehabilitation colony located about 700 metres from the nuclear plant. They were in a car. They came ready for trouble. They had weapons in their vehicle. Because I’m the councillor, these men came to my house to threaten my husband. All the women gathered and we lay down and blocked them. Sahayaraj then confronted Mr. Ganesan, the person who has the keys to the borewell pump house. Despite our protests, he snatched away the keys from Mr. Ganesan. He said “Now I’ll see what you’ll do for water.” As women, we didn’t want to pick up a fight with these guys as we were apprehensive that they will attack us with the weapons in their possession. This morning, we contacted one Mr. Paul Durai, who had another set of keys, and we got him to open the pump and run it, but only after we threatened to go to the BDO and complain.”

At 8.30 p.m. the same day, Mr. Santhiya, s/o Felix, residing at North Antoniyars St, Idinthakarai, and driver Mr. Livings, s/o Remigius, were returning to Idinthakarai by Vehicle No. TN 72 Q 4323. A car coming in the opposite direction suddenly swerved towards them, narrowly missing a head-on collision, but scraping the car. The occupants of the two vehicles got out. The other vehicle was occupied by Mr. Sahayaraj and Mr. Stalin, his brother. Both were reportedly inebriated. They got out, and thrashed Santhiya and Felix, and reported at the Koodankulam Police Station that they were the victims. Mr. Santhiya and Felix were too afraid to report to the police as any Idinthakarai resident can be arrested on any pretext because of the large number of false cases filed on unknown people.

Complaints about all incidents will be filed by post and email. Sahaya Initha says “The problem is between Sahayaraj and the people who elected his wife. Udaykumar Ayya, Pushparayan Ayya and Father Jesuraj did not elect them and they have nothing to do with our anger. Sahayaraj is upset with us because of the fight we picked up after he snatched the keys to the toilets and borewell pump. The FIR should be filed against us.”

Last night, another incident has happened. Mr. Stalin — Sahayaraj’s brother — owns a large shed which used to house vehicles and cattle. Last night, the cattle and vehicles were removed and the shed was set afire. A 2000 strong dalit community lives near the Shed in the village named Keezh Vijayapathi. The community knows who set it afire, and they plan to file a petition with the police today.

Mrs. Egethin Sahayaraj, the invisible woman president whose husband is the proxy President, was elected on the basis of a poll promise that she will stand with the people against the nuclear power plant. But since 19 March, both the President and her husband have been going back and forth on their promise. Mr. Sahayaraj has tried to provoke the protestors on several occasions and failed. On the day that the Struggle Committee ended its indefinite hunger strike, Mr. Sahayaraj switched on the microphone after the day’s protest was called to an end and began berating the media that was present there. He said that the media was mis-reporting issues and making it appear as if there are no people left in the protest pandal despite the presence of so many thousands. He declared that photographers who go around photographing empty spaces to project the struggle as weak should have their legs broken. This speech was made ostensibly to create disaffection among the media towards the struggle.

Mr. Sahayaraj is also being worked upon by two of his relatives — Mr. Besky and Mr. Stanley — who are reportedly DSPs in the TN Police. One is with the Q branch and another works in Theni district.

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