Kalpakkam Update: Peaceful Anti-Nuke Protests Turned Nasty by Tamil Nadu Cops

from Nityanand Jayaraman

Update: 28 March, 2013. 6.30 p.m.

Based on telephone conversation with Abdul Samad, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi, Kalpakkam.

It is not the manner in which a protest is conducted, but the target of the protests that determine whether the police will turn nasty or remain cool. This morning, more than 1000 people gathered peacefully on the beach near the Kalpakkam nuclear power plant. The organisers instructed people to sit on the sands, and chant slogans. According to Abdul Samad, “Such a peaceful and organised gathering was unprecedented. It was a soft, well-behaved affair. We told the people that officials will come, and we can present our demadns to them, and that the police will come and tell us to disperse, after which those who wish to court arrest will have to walk in an orderly manner and board the bus.” Nearly 650 people, including 200 women, were picked up by the police and taken to wedding halls in three towns — Guduvanchery, Singaperumal Koil, and Chengalpet. About 27 leaders are being held in Singaperumal Koil, while 110 others are being held in the same venue downstairs.

It is common practice for the police to release peaceful protestors in the evening. But in this instance, since the protests is directed against the Nuclear Power Corporation of India and the Department of Atomic Energy, the police is being vicious. It first said the 27 leaders will be remanded and sent to judicial custody. Now the Superintendent of Police has brought the Magistrate to the wedding hall, and is threatening to jail all 650 people.

The protestors were demanding an end to dumping of nuclear wastes inside the Kalpakkam premises; a freeze on any further expansion of nuclear facilities in the Kalpakkam nuclear park; and diversion of all produced electricity to the surrounding affected villages, which currently face 10 hours of power cuts.

Kindly register your protest by sending faxes and emails to the Director General of Police, Tamil Nadu: +91 44-28447703(Fax)
Email: phq@tn.nic.in

Update from earlier this day: 1:29 p.m.

Kalpakkam Protests; Kalpakkam Arrests
G. Sundar Rajan, a friend and co-activist, is currently travelling to Singaperumal Koil in Kanchipuram District to meet Abdul Samad — one of the organisers of the resistance to the expansion of nuclear capacity in Kalpakkam nuclear park. Samad is one of nearly 2000 people who have been detained in about six different locations for organising a hunger strike and blockade of the Kalpakkam nuclear complex. Villagers living in the areas surrounding the Madras Atomic Power Station are protesting against the expansion of the nuclear complex, and have said that they will not tolerate the addition of any new facilities in Kalpakkam. A 500 MW prototype fast breeder reactor has been under construction for nearly a decade, and villagers have said that this plant must be abandoned. They have also condemned the dumping of radioactive waste within the premises. Additionally, they have demanded that the entire share of electricity produced at the MAPS complex should be distributed to nearby villages. They pointed out that it is vulgar that the local villages suffer 10 hour shortages while Kalpakkam township, more than 10 kilometres away enjoys 24-hour electricity.

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