As Japan shut down its last reactor, the Koodankulam project is to go critical in ten days. Because Japan depends on local consensus for its nuclear decisions, unlike the World’s Largest Democracy, the views of Japanese people counts for something. Thousands of Japanese marched in celebrations to celebrate the switching off of the last of Japan’s 50 nuclear reactors on Saturday May 5th.
Traditional ‘koinobori’ fish-shaped banners for Children’s Day have become a potent symbol of the Japanese anti-nuclear movement, symbolizing the commitment to leave a safe and clean earth to children.
Meanwhile, back home in Koodankulam, as this guest post by DEEPA RAJKUMARreminds us, unrelenting state repression continues of the massive, non-violent struggle against the proposed nuclear plant there.
6,800 people in Koodankulam face charges of sedition and/or waging war against the state, possibly the largest number so charged ever, in colonial or independent India, in just one police station.
Sathish Kumar and R. S. Muhilan began an indefinite hunger strike from 25th April in Tiruchirapalli prison, Tamil Nadu. They were demanding a fair trial, stoppage of new charges being filed against them and the withdrawal of existing false charges against them. They are among nearly 200 people arrested following the Tamil Nadu government’s unprecedented para-militarized crackdown on the local, strong, peaceful, 10 month-long hunger strike by People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) in its struggle against the setting up of the central government-backed Indo-Russian Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) in coastal Southern Tamil Nadu. Sathish Kumar and R.S. Muhilan are two among more than 55,000 people, co-accused ‘others’, against whom 107 FIRs (First Information Reports) were filed between September and December 2011 in Idinthakarai, Tamil Nadu.
Now, they are the only two people still in prison. And they are being dragged through farcical legal proceedings and unending time in prison, with judicial remand being extended, court hearings postponed, bail being denied, being shunted from court to court. When they were granted bail in High Court, immediately they had to face new charges, judicial remand and courts all over again. Putting their very lives in peril, they entered the 9th day of their hunger strike with their bail being rejected yet again on May 2, 2012. Finally on the 10th day, May 4th, with minimal media coverage of the movement, and in response to an appeal from PMANE, they called off their strike.