Arati Chokshi
It was two days after the IB secret document was leaked that a friend alerted me that I was Listed. This was unexpected, but not unduly surprising in view of my open position against India’s entire nuclear program, particularly that at Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP). I believed then, as I do now, that survival of any democracy depends on availability of public space for divergent and dissenting viewpoints and scope to express these openly, to persuade public opinion and thus to collectively influence decisions serving our combined destiny.
Far worse has already happened at KKNPP, way before this IB report. At the height of the anti-Kudankulam agitation, peaceful protesters were harassed, beaten, jailed for opposing an energy project that could endanger their lives and that of their progeny; would jeopardise health, and seriously damage local livelihoods and ecology. Thousands of FIRs were lodged against protesters, young and old, women and children, on grave charges of being seditious and for waging war against the state. Yet, protests continued and spread far beyond the KKNPP zone, to other states and metros.

Bogey and myths of foreign funded(FF) NGOs were conjured by the state way back in 2012, by our PM himself (see here)to derail increasingly serious public discussions that protesters against the KKNPP had succeeded in bringing to media’s attention and in open forums. The debate was not merely about running KKNPP from within a thriving and independent community of fisher folks and subjugating them, but increasingly on the topic of rights. For the first time the image of the protester radicalized – from voiceless, downtrodden destitute, to strident communities with women alongside men, young children and very old, who were fully informed on the project and also their rights; they had the temerity to challenge the establishment; they were loud, articulate, engaging, debating and very determined. The State, refusing to engage on either the necessity of KKNPP, or the issue of people’s democratic rights, had no option but to attack the questioners with an elaborate fiction. The leaked IB report just substantiates and perpetuates an old lie – with many more lies, more names, and utterly ridiculous figures, without any supporting arithmetic, for the net national fiscal loss due to these anti-national FF NGOs.

KKNPP 1 is commissioned and is now producing at full capacity. Yet, the orgy of repression is not stemmed; there continue to be those who are inconvenient, who think and dare question, the dangerous ones – these have been identified and blacklisted because thinking, speaking, having a different viewpoint hurts our democratic nation. Others, like me have been listed, as merely supporting these anti-nationals.

One thing that leaking this secret report does: it has made state’s position very clear; dissent is anti-national and unpatriotic. Right to complain, legitimately, has expired. Those wronged must accept in grace that their sacrifice is mandatory for a larger national good – forget that the rich always benefit and never get to make sacrifices or be patriots. New lows in democratic standards have been set in this largest democracy where might is not just right, but also rich and corporatized.

But India’s public, its civil society, will not stomach this. We will continue to challenge set notions, ideologies, and politics of globalized development. We recognize that to convert legitimate, peoples movements into an elaborate web of ill-conceived lies is just that – a huge charade – and we laugh. People are waking and the state is nervous!

– See more at: http://www.dianuke.org/on-finding-my-name-in-the-ib-list/#sthash.Auaz4Ahl.dpuf