STAFF REPORTER, Nov 4, 2012, The Hindu

The Young Women’s Christian Association hall (YWCA) here, on Saturday, rang with passionate voices of solidarity and an undaunted spirit of protest as women involved in agitations against the concrete manifestations of ‘development’ in Kudankulam and Vilappilsala gathered for a day of sharing their ‘Stories of Survival.’

With the tagline ‘Kudankulam muthal Vilappilsala verae,’ the programme was led by the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA). Focussing on a woman’s perspective, the programme highlighted the travails of those who lived in the troubled zones.

Support sought

Speakers during the session stressed that women, being the most victimised, needed to pledge support for each other, irrespective of the specific cause. As Sugathakumari, poet, said, “The men may be silent, but the lakhs of women in Kerala need to at least speak against the situation at Kudankulam.”

“The Union government, people’s representatives, business and industrial leaders do not seem to understand what a flawed definition of development they are following. Or they pretend not to,” Ms. Sugathakumari said.

She criticised the responses of political representatives and scientists who have said that the nuclear power plant at Kudankulam will function safely.

“Only God can tell when the system will fail. How can we predict natural catastrophes? There is also such a thing as man-made error. How can we completely rule out the possibility of something like this happening?” she said.

Touching upon various projects in the State itself that threatened the existence of paddy fields, she said even if complete self-sufficiency could not be attained, there must be an attempt to produce essential commodities required by our people.

Jameela Prakasam, MLA, who was present, lauded the strength of the women to carry on their protests. Organisers said that more such meetings, involving various women’s rights and environmental organisations, would be held.

Poster exhibition

A poster exhibition was held as part of the function, along with the screening of a recently released documentary ‘Daughters of the Sea – Voices from Kudankulam.’

The session began with a demonstration led by six women who came from Kudankulam and five, including Vilapilsala panchayat president, Shobana Kumari, from Vilappilsala. Nearly 150 women participated in the march from the YWCA till the Secretariat.