Idinthakarai SOS

May 5, 2012

The indefinite hunger strike has been going on for the past 5 days. Some 25 men have been on the fast since May 1 and 302 women and 10 more men have joined the strike on May 4, 2012. More and more women are eager to join the indefinite hunger strike but because of logistical issues such as space, bedding and toilet facilities, we are not in a position to accommodate them all.

Many of the men have become very tired and are suffering from fatigue and nausea. Scores of women are suffering from severe headache this morning and some seem to be dehydrated because of the scorching summer heat. They need immediate medical advice and help.

The Tahsildar (county administrator) of Radhapuram contacted us yesterday and said he was sending a medical team to check the health of the hunger strikers. Nobody has come so far and we have contacted the officer again this morning.

Our people have been struggling so patiently, peacefully and nonviolently for the past nine months. Our people have not hurt or harmed or killed anybody or damaged any public or private properties. No untoward incident has ever taken place. But neither the central government nor the state government has ever tried to meet our people or listen to their opinions, thoughts, feelings and standpoints about the Koodankulam nuclear power project in a democratic manner.

Even now, instead of talking to our people, the authorities are warning us not to turn our movement into a violent one. We are not sure if they are hatching a conspiracy against us. The whole world knows that our people have been struggling nonviolently for the past nine months.

When Maoists kidnap MLAs and District Collectors and engage in random acts of violence such as attacking police stations and killing people, the governments nominate high-level mediators, talk to the Maoists in their own hideouts and grant all their wishes and demands then and there. But when our people struggle peacefully and nonviolently, the governments, authorities, politicians, scientists and even some pro-government media houses turn a deaf ear to us.

Our helpless and desperate people appeal to the Indian civil society and the international community to come to our rescue as our men and women are becoming weak and tired. We remain open to dialogue with the government officials but we demand a written agreement with a definite action plan and clear timeline.

Please contact the following officers and demand justice for our people:

[1] Dr. R. Selvaraj, District Collector, Tirunelveli District, Tirunelveli. Phone: 91-462-2500828; Fax: 91-462-2500224; Mobile: 91-9444185000; Email: [email protected]
[2] Mr. V. Varadharaju; Phone: 91-462-2568031; Mobile: 91-9840970530; Email: [email protected]
[3] Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Fort St. George, Chennai 600 009, India; Phones: 91-44-25672345 (W); 91-44-25670215 (H); Faxes: 91-44-28133510; 25676929; 25671441; 28130787; Email: [email protected]; [email protected]
[4] Mr. Debendranath Sarangi, Chief Secretary; Phone: 91-44-25671555; Fax: 91-44-25672304; Email: [email protected]
[5] Dr. Sheela Priya, Additional Chief Secretary; Phone: 91-44-25674234; Fax: 91-44-25675163. Email: [email protected]

We have put forward the following demands to the authorities:

[1] The ongoing work at the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) must be halted and the following steps must be taken immediately.

[2] As the Central Information Commission (CIC) has instructed the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL), the Safety Analysis Report and the Site Evaluation Report must be released to the public immediately. And the full and final post-Fukushima safety audit report must also be released to the press and the public.

[3] A new and comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report must be commissioned as the one that the DAE has released after 23 years of struggle is incomplete, erroneous and outdated. The Tamil and Malayalam translations of the new EIA must be shared with the local people and the Press in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

[4] The opinions and preferences of the project-affected people must be heard by a competent authority in an open, transparent and democratic manner to understand the fears and concerns of the people.

[5] An independent national committee must be constituted to study the issues of geology, hydrology, oceanography and seismology involved in the Koodankulam nuclear power plant.

[6] Disaster management training and evacuation exercises must be conducted in the 30-km radius of the Koodankulam plants and beyond in the wake of the recent earthquake all over Tamil Nadu and India.

[7] A Tamil Nadu State Assembly Resolution must be passed that the Pechipparai dam water from Kanyakumari District and the Tamirabharani river water from Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi Districts will not be taken for the KKNPP reactors.

[8] A copy of the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) on liability secretly signed between the governments of India and Russia must be made available to the project-affected public.

[9] Complete and truthful information must be given to the local people and the citizens of India about nuclear waste that would be produced at the Koodankulam plants and its management.

[10] All the false cases against the members of the struggle committee and the common people must be withdrawn immediately and unconditionally. Our friends who are still languishing in prison, Muhilan and Sathishkumar, must be released immediately.

[11] The local people’s right to protest peacefully and nonviolently against the KKNPP and other related issues must be respected and honored. And no more false cases and other intimidatory exercises should be used against the struggling people.

People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)