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Archives for : S. P. Udayakumar

I Fear for My Life – says Anti Nuke activist – S. P. Udayakumar

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[Backdrop]
One Vicky Nanjappa has written an article entitled “IB alerts government over ‘mischievous’ NGOs” in rediff.comon June 9, 2014. The following excerpts sum up the main arguments of the article based on the classified IB report:
Many out of the total 85,000 NGOs operating in the country are using foreign funds to indulge into a lot of mischievous activities to hamper social and economic development, the Intelligence Bureau has alerted the Union home ministry in a report.”
 
The most obvious interference from an NGO was found at the Kundankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu. The protests that erupted against the plant had puzzled several intelligence agencies. The IB had then submitted a report to the then MHA about a US-based that was allegedly orchestrating the villagers’ protests. However, the home ministry under the United Progressive Alliance government at that time had made a statement about the same and left it at that. With a new government in place, the IB has once again raked up the issue and wants stringent action against such NGOs.”
“These NGOs have been set up with the help of funds from the US, UK, Germany and other countries only to ensure that some of the developmental projects run into troubled waters, the report points out.”
“Earlier these NGOs created rifts on the basis of caste discrimination, religion and human rights. Today they have been tasked to stall major projects by staging protests.”
“These NGOs work along with some unions who are paid a major chunk of money to stage protests, the report notes. The money on offer is so lucrative that these unions never come to the discussion table and this has been a very strange trend as more often than not one does not realise what they are protesting for, the report notes.”
“The report states that the conversion racket is immense and huge sums of money are being pumped in from the foreign countries through some NGOs to lure people into conversion.”
‘Such issues are bound to create a social divide as a result of which there is constant tension and this is very counter-productive to the growth of a region which is marred by conflict,’ the IB report states.”
[Part II]
Now Priyadarshi Siddhanta, Assistant Editor, The Indian Express, New Delhi, has emailed me saying: “we have read through a report prepared by an Indian government agency, which has referred to your role n anti-nuclear protests. …Specifically, we would like to seek your comments on the following paras excerpted from the report:”
[1] “An enquiry of Udayakumar had revealed a deep and growing connection with the US and German authorities. In July 2010, Udayakumar received an unsolicited contract from he Kirwan Institute for Study of Race and Ethnicity at the Ohio State University USA as a consultant on Group, Race, Class and Democracy Issues through NGOs. He was paid $ 21, 120 upto June 2011 in a US bank account in his name and was contracted to earn another $ 17, 600 upto April 2012 for fortnightly reports.”
[2] “…As a result, Udayakumar’s contact in Germany, one Sonntag Rainer Hermann (German national) was deported from Chennai on February 27, 2012. Hermann’s laptop contained a scanned map of India with 16 nuclear plants (existing or proposed) and five uranium mine locations marked prominently. The map also included contact details of 50 Indian anti-nuclear activists hand-written on small slips of paper with Blackberry PIN graph. The map was sent via email to five prominent anti-nuclear activists, including Udayakumar.”
My Response:
It is a ridiculous and libelous claim that I was contracted through NGOs and I was submitting “fortnightly reports” to them. In fact, I worked as an off-campus Research Fellow in the International Program of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, at the Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA for several years. The Director of the Kirwan Institute was one Professor john a. powell (he does not use capital letters in his name), a reputed scholar in civil rights, who had been my employer at the Institute on Race and Poverty, University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, USA between Fall 1997 and Spring 2001. I had worked with him there as a Research Associate and Co-Director of Programs and that was why he chose me for the Kirwan assignment. I traveled to the Ohio State University campus in Columbus, Ohio a few times also. For the Kirwan Institute, I did several research and writing projects on globalization, racism, minority welfare, BRICS etc. I never did any research and writing project on India’s development or India’s nuclear program. I left that Research Fellow job in Spring 2011 when the Kirwan Institute reorganized itself under a new administration.
Similarly, Sonntag Rainer Hermann is NOT my “contact in Germany”. He was an acquaintance from Nagercoil, my hometown in Tamil Nadu. He was a hippie-type staying in a cheap hotel here in Nagercoil and participated in our anti-nuclear events. I did not receive any information or maps or monetary helps from him, nor did I give him any. If he had done something illegal or dangerous why did the Indian authorities deport him hurriedly without taking any legal action? I asked this question even when he was deported in February 2012.
In my humble opinion, Indian authorities must begin to believe that “ordinary citizens” of India such as farmers and fisher folks have a mind of their own and can take an intelligent stand on issues such as setting up a nuclear power park or other such dangerous projects in their backyard. Those of us who stand up, speak up and try to protect our poor and illiterate people’s land, water, air, sea, food security and nutrition security should NOT be considered and insulted as foreign stooges, money launderers, or smugglers. The Indian authorities should acknowledge the simple fact that we do what we do because we love this country and its peoples. If this is how we –honest, responsible and law-abiding citizens– are treated, abused and harassed, this would only send wrong lessons to our youth and promote extremism and terrorism in this country.
The IB report tends to blame all the Hawala transactions, religious conversions, caste clashes, terrorism, impeding developmental activities, and crippling the national economy on the NGOs and their activities. This augurs ill for our country that has pluralistic ethos and democratic politics. I am afraid this Fascist presupposition of the IB report is a precursor for stringent actions against individuals, groups, people’s movements and minorities. As I have been singled out in this report and mentioned by name, I fear for my life and for my family’s safety and security. Please do the needful.
S. P. Udayakumar, Ph.D.
Nagercoil,
June 10, 2014.

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“If They Arrest me,they make me a martyr and a winner’- S P Udayakumar

March 11, 2014

S P Udaykumar‘The Congress will be gone from the political scene. The BJP and Congress are the two sides of the same evil coin,’ anti-Koodankulam nuclear plant activist and new AAP member S P Udaykumar tells Rediff.com‘s A Ganesh Nadar.

P Udaykumar has been spearheading the anti-nuclear protests for the past three years against India’s latest nuclear power plant in Koodankulam in Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli district.

Udaykumar has been doing this from Idinthakarai village adjoining Koodankulam and has over 350 cases filed against him. He has been protected from arrest by the villagers who have declared that he can be arrested only over their dead bodies.

Udaykumar, who has now joined the Aam Aadmi Party, tells Rediff.com‘s A Ganesh Nadar why he plunged into politics.

All your life you have been an activist. How come you suddenly became a politician? Activists hate politicians.

I agree we don’t get along with politicians. There are two reasons for joining the AAP.

One is that fellow members of The People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy think it will help our cause if I join this party.

Secondly, it will be a good vehicle to travel with other activists like Medha Patkar and Arvind Kejriwal.

What difference can you can make as a politician that an activist cannot?

I will continue to push the people’s agenda. I will try to be honest and transparent.

Try?

(laughing) I said try because I am honest, you know that.

But there are so many people I will be working with. I cannot vouch for all of them.

Is it true that you are contesting the elections? You cannot leave Idinthakarai to file your nomination or canvas, the police will arrest you. How will you deal with that?

The party will decide whether I contest or not. I will have to leave the village to file my nomination.

Let us wait and see what happens. Let them arrest me.

George Fernandes was in prison during the Emergency. He won with a handsome margin. I don’t have to travel in the hot summer and canvas.

I can sit happily in prison while they make me a martyr and a winner (laughs).

Are you contesting from Tirunelveli or Kanyakumari?

That the party will decide.

Tirunelveli votes on caste lines and Kanyakumari is a district divided on communal lines, how will you overcome that?

The whole state is casteist.

Our slogan will be look for the candidate’s qualities and commitment and not his caste or religion.

I am a secular person. Most people are secular. There are a few communal elements that stir up trouble. We will fight that.

Who are the AAP leaders in Tamil Nadu?

Christina Swamy from Karur is a woman activist. She is the state coordinator. David Barun Kumar is the head of the state campaign committee.

What did you think when Kejriwal quit as Delhi chief minister?

I thought it was a good decision. It frees him for the parliamentary elections. Otherwise he would have been stuck in Delhi mired in the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party)’s and Congress’s dirty politics.

Now he can go back with an absolute majority.

In Delhi they got volunteers easily thanks to Anna Hazare’s agitation and the Delhi gang-rape that brought the youth onto the streets, how will you get volunteers? The going rate is Rs 2,000 per head per day.

(laughs again) That doesn’t apply to us. I have been leading an agitation for three years now.

We have thousands of volunteers who have never been paid in cash or kind.

After winning the Delhi election against the Congress the AAP took its support, will this happen again at the national level?

I don’t think so. The Congress will be gone from the political scene.

I hope there is no such political exigency.

Between the Congress and the BJP, which is the lesser evil?

No lesser evil. Both are two sides of the same evil coin.

The Church supported your agitation, will it support your politics?

The Church did not support our agitation. This parish priest supported us. It is the people who supported us.

Will AAP join the Third Front post the election?

No idea! I am not in the decision making committee.

You have over 350 cases against you, what are you doing about that?

I am not thinking about that now. If I am asked by my party to contest, I will go to file my nomination. The Tamil Nadu government has to worry about my cases.

DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) leader M K Stalin made an appeal that cases against us should be withdrawn.

As the elections get closer, many more politicians will make this demand. I am not worried either way.

Image: S P Udaykumar. Photograph: A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com

 

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PMANE Statement on unfortunate incident near the Koodankulam nuclear plant

  • Nov 27th 2013

 

English: Internationally recognized symbol. De...

English: Internationally recognized symbol. Deutsch: Gefahrensymbol für Radioaktivität. Image:Radioactive.svg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

  • Leaders of the PMANE (People’s movement against Nuclear Energy) leading the struggle against Koodankulam nuclear power plant S.P Udayakumar and M. Pushparayan distanced itself from the unfortunate incident at Tsunami Colony, near the Koodankulam nuclear plant, in which at least six people, including three girls, were killed when country bombs exploded in a house around 7pm on Tuesday.

    S.P Udayakumar said, “A koothenkuzhi refugee group seems to have done a misadventure. Idinthakarai people and PMANE have nothing to do with it. Our nonviolent struggle continues”

    M Pushparayan told the Times of India that the country bombs had nothing to do with their movement nor were their supporters involved in bomb making.

    Accodring to TOI report, “the bombs were allegedly stocked by some villagers following a clash with another group. Three houses caved in due to the impact of the explosion. Fearing arrest, all villagers fled Tsunami Colony as soon as police personnel arrived. Fire and rescue services personnel put off the fire and started work to remove the debris. “We fear some villagers could be trapped under the debris,” a police officer said.”

 

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#India – Case against S P Udayakumar, others over blast near Kudankulam plant #WTFnews

 

 

CNN-IBN
Nov 27, 2013 at 12:20pm IST

Chennai: The police have filed a case against anti-nuclear activist

English: Construction site of the Koodankulam ...

English: Construction site of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant Deutsch: Baustelle des Kernkraftwerks Kudankulam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

and others in connection with Tuesday night’s explosion at Idinthakarai in Tamil Nadu, near the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. Six people were killed and two injured when a country-made bomb exploded on Tuesday night in a coastal village near the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant.

A Home Ministry spokesman said in New Delhi that the country-made bomb went off “accidentally” when some miscreants were making the explosive in their hut at around 1840 hours in Idinagarai Tsunami colony, about 15 km from the nuclear power plant. Among the dead were a woman and three children who were all aged below five, police said.

A senior official of the Department of Atomic Energy said the plant is running fine and is safe. Two houses were razed under the impact of the blast, they said, adding rescue teams rushed to the pot to clear the debris and extricate people believed trapped under it.

 

Bomb disposal squad and investigation teams rushed to the spot, along with DIG of Police Sumith Saran and Superintendent of Police Vijendra Bidari. People of Idinthakarai, the hub of protests against KNPP, backed by People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, have been agitating for more than two years, demanding its closure.

Unit-1 had attained criticality on July 13 this year following protests against the project by anti-nuclear activists in areas around the complex, citing safety reasons. Police had raided Kunthankuli village near Idinthakarai in 2012 and early this year and seized some country bombs from some huts.

(With additional information from PTI)

 

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Film fete provides platform for Koodankulam protesters

STAFF REPORTER, The Hindu

100 short films, documentaries to be screened

Xavior Amma, leader of People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, addressing the 8th edition of Vibgyor International Film Festival heldin Thrissur on Saturday.

Xavior Amma, leader of People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, addressing the 8th edition of Vibgyor International Film Festival heldin Thrissur on Saturday.

Nothing can dampen the spirit of the protesters against Koodankulam Nuclear Plant, said Xavior Amma, leader for People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, a group which is fighting against the nuke project.

She was addressing a discussion session at the 8th edition of Vibgyor International Film Festival held here on Saturday.

“We will fight till the end even if we are branded as traitors by the State,” she said. Xavior Amma has been the leader of the agitation ever since it began in 1988. People came to know about the sufferings of the Koodankulam protesters through the narrative of her struggles.

In September, 2012 she was arrested as part of effort to suppress the agitation. The police had booked several cases against S.P. Udayakumar, the leader of the movement, during the last lap of the agitation.

“They booked false cases against many of us to dampen the spirit of the agitation. But the people knew that the protesters were right and hence they never withdrew their support,” said Xavior Amma.

She alleged that the nuclear power plant will affect the biodiversity in the vicinity.

“Our struggle is for protection of human rights and conservation of environment. But the protest is being branded as the one taken out by ‘ignorant’ fisher folk who have come under the influence of the U.S. government. We are being branded as traitors and American spies,” she said.

The Vibgyor Film Collective donated books to the library set up at Kudankulam for the children there.

More than 100 short films, documentaries and animation films are being screened at the five-day festival. The theme of the festival is “Stolen Democracies.”

Addressing the inaugural function at the K.T. Mohammed Memorial Regional Theatre, Marcia Gomez Oliviera, academic from Brazil, said that youth apparently did not want to fight for democracy.

“They want to struggle only to earn money. Money means everything to them. As an academic, when I teach about democracy in class, I face a question from students: is democracy worth fighting for? Democracy, in this sense, is not stolen. It does not exist at many places,” she said.

 

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Asserting Freedom, Celebrating Resistance: New Year 2013 at Kudankulam #Videos

Anushka Meenakshi, a Chennai-based supporter and film-maker, has recorded 7 interviews with people who returned from Idinthakarai

 

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Call to address concerns of Kudankulam protesters

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, The Hindu

A chord with the masses:Film director T.K. Rajeevkumar launching the campaign ‘A rupee for Kudankulam’ on the Shanghumughom beach in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday.— Photo: S. Mahinsha

 

The concerns of safety, loss of livelihood, and displacement raised by the villagers of Kudankulam are not the isolated concerns of 18,000 fisherfolk. Every individual should see this struggle as the right of another for existence and support it, film-maker T. K. Rajeevkumar said. The agitation against the Kudankulam nuclear plant has crossed 600 days.

Addressing hundreds of people on the Shanghumugham beach on Sunday evening, Mr. Rajeevkumar said the people of Kudankulam only want to convey to the world that none in high places had ever actually explained to them the benefits or disadvantages of building a nuclear plant in their village. They want to tell the world to understand the depth and implications of the concerns they have raised and see it as a concern of humanity and not marginalise it, Mr. Rajeevkumar said.

He was speaking after inaugurating the ‘A Rupee for Kudankulam’ campaign, organised by a State-level action council expressing solidarity with the Kudankulam movement

He said his reaction to the issue was that of a citizen and that of an individual who was apprehensive about what the proximity to a nuclear plant could mean to his world and the safety of people. The government had the responsibility to reassure the people about the concerns they had raised, he said.

Video installation

Mr. Rajeevkumar said a video installation on Kudankulam, explaining the entire anti-nuclear campaign from a human perspective, was being planned, the shooting for which had already commenced. The video installation would travel across the world so that the anti-nuclear voices from an isolated community would be heard across the world, he added.

S. P. Udayakumar, who is spearheading the anti-nuclear protests at Kudankulam plant, addressed the campaign via video conferencing. He said the people of the village were only seeking basic information about the nuclear plant project. But the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government were only concerned about enriching the Russian economy and scuttling the non-violent and democratic agitation being carried out by the villagers.

“Why is the government hell bent on going ahead with the nuclear plant project in such a hasty manner? The Prime Minister says we are approaching the issue emotionally and that we should come forward for a dialogue. But to initiate a dialogue, we need all information about the project – give us details about the site analysis, safety evaluation and emergency preparation and management reports,” Dr. Udayakumar said.

He pointed out that in other States too, proposed nuclear projects had been dropped following people’s opposition. “There is no need for any haste; let us have a national debate on the issue in the next elections,” he said.

He said the agitation will continue and that the people of Kudankulam were determined to fight for their right to live safely in their land till their last breath.

 

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Nuke activist Udayakumar tops TOI poll

Chennai: Anti-nuclear activist S P Udayakumar has topped the poll conducted by TOI on role models who made news in 2012 for their vision,work and commitment.
By winning over 50% of the votes,he left luminaries like acclaimed liver surgeon Dr Mohamed Rela,sportspersons Dipika Pallikal and Viswanathan Anand,actor-director Kamal Haasan and Carnatic singer T M Krishna far behind.
Even Magsaysay award winner Kulandei Francis ranked much lower as compared to the anti-nuclear activist,who is campaigning against the Kudankulam power project.
Speaking to TOI on Monday,Udayakumar said that the struggle of the people in Idinthakarai would continue in a peaceful and non-violent manner.He also promised that the people would stand their ground against the project and take the struggle to a political plane.

 

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Prime Minister, Crime Minister #ManmohanSingh #mustread

 

Prime Minister, Crime Minister!
Image

 

S. P. Udayakumar

 

Idinthakarai

 

August 27, 2012

 

[Thanks to MGD for prodding me to think about this connection.]

 

 

 

Prime Minister, Prime Minister, why did you keep coal

 

When none of your predecessors ever had this foal?

 

Did you sell non-players and new ones all the Black Gold

 

So thermal power goes down and nuclear becomes bold?

 

How much did nuke barons, promoters, brokers pay your fold

 

For bringing our country under Russians’ and Americans’ hold?

 

You’re indeed an eminent economist for the whole wide world

 

For you strike a bunch of mangoes for every stone hurled!

 

Crime Minister, Crime Minister, why didn’t you ever goad

 

All your ministers to work for India rather than have it sold?

 

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Nuclear Nirvana- Poem #Mustread

S. P. Udayakumar
Idinthakarai
May 30, 2012
[Newspaper Reports: Having exhausted all options to end opposition to the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant, the Indian government now plans to get a peek into the protesters’ minds and remove any fears with the help of psychiatrists from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) in Bangalore.]
If you do feel like pulling your hair off
when they deprive you of your daily bread,
If you do feel like screaming your head off
when they chip away at your wellbeing,
If you do feel like kicking up a storm
when they deny your identity and freedom,
If you do feel like raising a ruckus
when they wring you dry of life’s very meaning,
If you feel like grabbing one’s throat
when they lay on the line your survival,
You must be sick, my friend! I dare say,
            you could even be mentally ill.
You could be suffering from reality distortion
            focusing on problems rather than solutions;
You could be a victim of interpretative intention
drawing negative conclusions and opposing authority;
You are simply sick with establishmentophobia
            doubting leaders, heroes, scientists and such Noble Men.
If the State signs nuclear deals with every country
and mines adivasi land and all over for Yellow Cake,
Builds temples of technology, dumps the waste into the blue sea,
and manufactures “Smiling Buddha” products that protect us all—
They see Nuclear Nirvana but you cry foul for denuding with nukes,
and for this feeling of demoniac you need to see a psychiatrist!
The prognosis for this establishmentophobia is rather mixed.
You will continue to suspect your mother, the country, and Father, the State;
You will distrust your Brothers and sisters, the Nobility and their sentry;
You will disbelieve the fact that “road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions.”
You like a lunatic lover will be hard to talk to and even harder to listen to;
You’ll become imponderable, impregnable, and simply impossible.
If the diagnosis is rather bad and the prognosis even worse,
The therapy is the worst, calling for continuous psychiatric care.
Explore the anatomical structure of your brain and examine its neurophysiology;
            Check your preference of Democritean knowing: through senses or intellect?
And put you on corrective behavior in a correctional facility or corporate hospital
For distrusting the dual drive theory of nuking and nirvana to explain human fulfillment.

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