Social activists seek withdrawal of false cases charged against protesters

Condemning the alleged State repression of the democratic rights of the people of Kudankulam, a group of social activists has urged the Tamil Nadu government to drop the ‘false cases’ charged against them and to cancel the prohibitory orders in the area.

In a statement issued on the eve of Independence Day, a large number of intellectuals, activists, writers and NGO leaders, including Mahasweta Devi, V.R. Krishna Iyer, Medha Patkar, Aruna Roy, Vandana Shiva and Swamy Agnivesh, asked the government to put an end to the ‘violent repression of the non-violent struggle at Kudankulam.’

They noted with concern that in spite of the stiff opposition by the local people, the government and the nuclear establishment were going ahead with commissioning the nuclear power plant. The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board had okayed the loading of fuel in Reactor 1.

On prohibitory order

“We urge the government to withdraw all false cases against the peaceful protesters of Kudankulam and to withdraw all prohibitory orders from the area, including Section 144, so that normalcy can be restored,” the statement said. “We call upon the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J. Jayalalithaa to stop police repression and to engage in an open dialogue with the peaceful protesters.”

‘Undue haste’

They expressed their strong dissent over the “undue haste with which the government has been proceeding to load the fuel without explaining to the country how it proposes to deal with the issue of inadequate fresh water required for the routine cooling of the reactors, the liability issue and its failure to implement the post-Fukushima task force’s recommendations.”

Plea in court

They pointed out that a writ petition raising these issues was before the Madras High Court, but the government and the nuclear establishment had decided to load the fuel in the nuclear reactors without even waiting for the court’s verdict.

Those who have signed the petition also urged the Prime Minister to review the situation and to initiate a broad-based national debate on the viability of nuclear energy.

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