Thousands of men, women, and children from the farming, agro-trading, and fishing communities of Jaitapur in India’s picturesque Ratnagiri District in Maharashtra, today courted arrest en-masse, after a march from Sakhri Nate to Madban village – the site of the upcoming Jaitapur Nuclear Power Park (slated to be the world’s largest such nuclear power facility) – in the presence of heavily-armed state police personnel.
Sunday’s massive and entirely peaceful protest against the setting up of the Nuclear Power Plant in this ecologically-rich but fragile zone, is of a piece with several such protests and jail-bharo campaigns which have been organized by these local communities in previous years.
Speaking to DiaNuke.org, Satyajit Chavan, young leader of the local community’s protest group Jan Hakka Seva Samiti said – “it is shocking that the police used drones, hovering over the entire route of the demonstration and over our protest meeting, for the first time in our thoroughly peaceful protest that has been ongoing for years now. It is clearly a way for the state to project its power and intimidate people’s struggles. It is unfortunate that the right of collective and democratic movement enshrined in our constitution is being undermined so brazenly.” Satyajit also emphatically added that the protest in Jaitapur has been organised spontaneously by local people, and is not funded or co-ordinated by any political party.
“The banner of Jan Hakka Seva Samiti under which people assembled and registered their protest today is totally non-political. However, the media that had come to cover the protests interviewed only some leaders of political parties who just came their to show solidarity. In the past the media has used such occasions to portray the entire protest being anchored by Shiv Sena and other political groups, which is completely far from the reality”, Satyajit Chavan said. He is also a key leader of the National Alliance of Anti-Nuclear Movements(NAAM), a country-wide network of grassroots anti-nuke movements in India.
A solidarity letter sent by activists from France was read out at the protest in Jaitapur today, which highlighted the common struggle against nuclear lobbies dangerous profiteering:
“Far and close friends of the international anti-nuclear family !
You are not alone ! From various countries we watch carefully what is happening in Jaitapur, India.
Here from France we are impressed by your courageous actions that we totally support.
Here from France we spread the news on what you do (in French and in English for other international networks).
Here too, the central government is acting against the will of its own people and violating their basic right for a sane life at home.
Here too, there are many people wishing and working actively for the final death of the devil Areva.
Here too, this devil Areva is surviving until today only because the central government, without the agreement of the people, is giving to it non-stop billions of Euros coming directly from the tax-payers pockets.
Like yourself, as world citizens, we reclaim respect and justice for people and Nature as a first condition for a livable and even better world.
With full and renewable solidarity!”
More details about the protest and objections by the local community can be read here.
Photos courtesy: Fakir Mohammad Solkar