Dear Fellow Citizens of India,
On the occasion of our Parliament, the pinnacle of democratic governance, celebrating its 60th anniversary, our hard earned democracy is being ruthlessly repressed and violently suppressed. Within the accelerated race towards ‘destructive development’ and the generation of nuclear power to fuel such ‘development,’ entirely peaceful mass protests voicing people’s legitimate dissent are brutally put down. The common man, woman and child are unheard. In utter desperation, people at large are surrendering their ‘Voter ID cards,’ the ultimate symbol of ‘people’s power,’ which is the essence of any genuine democracy. Can there be a more ominous way to dissent?
Much like the recent anti-corruption upsurge, various actions for social, gender and ecological justice and other struggles in various parts of the country to safeguard people’s rights for their lives, dignity, resources, and livelihoods, the people’s movement in Koodankulam demanding a safe future is facing callous repression from the government and continued apathy from the public at large. Disappointingly, our mainstream media also persists in under-reporting this genuinely populist movement.
People in Idinthakarai village had to end their 14-day long fast this week. It is appalling that nobody from the Tamil Nadu, or Central, Government came to speak to them, and that police strength in the area has been intensified, with every possible intimidating tactic –including taking away the food ration cards of agitating villagers.
We appeal to you in a state of urgency and desperation.
The debate on India’s energy future is far from settled. We will need broader consensus and greater persuasion to ensure that India opts for the safest, most sustainable people-centric energy future.
The reactor project in Koodankulam perpetrates too many unacceptable violations of norms and procedures. The agitating people are peacefully and persistently trying to raise several important questions – both site-specific and generic with regard to nuclear power – through all possible forums. Many independent experts and scientists have already emphasized the various dangers of going ahead with the Koodankulam reactors.
At this critical juncture, we urge realizing a wider consultation is necessary before continuing the large-scale nuclear expansion that this government is already deeply engaged in.
We entreat you to demand that the government immediately stop intimidating and harassing peaceful protesters.
It is imperative that we immediately unite by raising our voices to defend democracy and the ethos of our country. Unacceptable precedents like the outright repression and silencing of the Koodankulam people’s movement will have adverse implications for all future individual and collective struggles.
With best regards,
Admiral L. Ramdas
M G Devasahayam
G Sundar Rajan
R R Srinivasan
Malem Ningthouja Chairperson, Campaign for Peace & Democracy (Manipur)
Pushpa Mitra Bhargava
G R Vora
Chandra Bhushan Chaudhary
A K Ramakrishnan
Sajeer Abdul Rahman
Kamayani Bali Mahabal
Shonali Sardesai, Senior Social Scientist, World Bank
Jaya Seal Ghosh, Actress
Nirupa Bhanger, Executive Director, The Anchorage
Vijay Bhangar, ITT Bombay
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