The state government of Tamil Nadu has finally succumbed to pressure by the Central government and decided to commission the operation of the two Russian built nuclear reactors in Koodankulam, in south Tamil Nadu. In protest against this government decision, S. P. Udayakumar, Pushparayan and 13 others are sitting on an indefinite hunger strike in Idinthikarai, a village near Koodankulam. They are surrounded by more than 10,000 people from the villages around the nuclear plant.

The government has attempted to crush this mass movement by sending in thousands of armed police who have surrounded the protestors, and has cut off even essential amenities like water, food and electricity to them. More than 300 people have been arrested, and slapped with sedition charges — no less.

Over the last six months in what has been the latest phase of a more than decade long struggle, tens of thousands of residents in and around Koodankulam have peacefully and non-violently demonstrated against the government’s nuclear power plans. They have demanded that the plant be scrapped, especially in the light of the devastating Fukushima nuclear accident which has starkly brought out to the world the dangers of nuclear energy. They are demanding that the government take recourse to more environmentally friendly ways like solar and wind energy to meet the energy crisis. Instead of addressing their livelihood and life concerns, the government has resorted to making all kinds of wild allegations like claiming that it is foreign funded, is funded by foreign NGOs, etc.

We strongly condemn the repression launched against the people of Koodankulam and southern Tamil Nadu and demand that those arrested be immediately released. If a willingness to exercise one’s democratic right of protest in peaceful and non-violent ways, or to criticize the pursuit of nuclear energy, or even to oppose government plans in this regard is to be deemed seditious and warrants being arrested, then we also declare ourselves to be as guilty as our fellow citizens in Tamil Nadu. We stand in solidarity with them.

In expression of our solidarity with the heroic people of south Tamil Nadu, activist groups and intellectuals across the country are organising solidarity actions tomorrow, March 23, on the occasion of Bhagat Singh Martyrdom Day. Solidarity hunger strikes are being organised in more than 22 cities, including Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, Chennai, Panjim, Kochhi, Allahabad, Lucknow, Kanpur, Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Hisar, Sonipat, Sohana, Fatehabad, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Hazaribagh, Ranchi, Jadugoda and Almora. An indefinite relay fast has started in Chennai. Some more cities will see solidarity actions on the following days. More than 500 people are going to begin a PEACE MARCH from Nagercoil to Idinthikarai on March 26.

As a part of this nationwide campaign, the citizens of Pune, are organising a solidarity hunger strike tomorrow opposite the Collector Office.

Program: Solidarity hunger strike in support of the struggle against Kudankulam Nuclear Plant

Date: March 23, 2012, Friday

Time: 7 am to 7 pm

Venue: Opposite Collector Office, Near Sasoon Hospital, Pune.