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Updated: December 2, 2012 01:10 IST

‘We are a headache for the establishment’

Meera Srinivasan
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AT THE VANGUARD: S.P. Udayakumar at Kuthankuzhi near Idinthakarai. Photo: A. Shaimohideen.
The Hindu AT THE VANGUARD: S.P. Udayakumar at Kuthankuzhi near Idinthakarai. Photo: A. Shaimohideen.

He is the face of the anti-nuclear protests in Kudankulam. S.P. Udayakumar tells Meera Srinivasan that the movement has its limitations when confronting government

There is something persuasive about the way S.P. Udayakumar speaks.

Not surprising, therefore, that he should be the voice of the anti-nuclear protests at Kudankulam where locals treat him like a messiah.

Attired in a sky-blue shirt with sleeves folded to three-quarters length and a black and blue checked lungi, he meets us at the home of Jesuraj, priest attached to the church in Kuthanguli — the fishing hamlet adjoining Idinthakarai. His trimmed beard shows clear signs of greying, his metal-frame glasses and poise — these make for a charming cross between an academician and an activist. “I feel vulnerable outside these two (Idinthakarai and Kuthanguli) villages,” he says.

At a time when his battle in Kudankulam is losing steam and beginning to prove futile, he observes: “Our movement [People’s Movement Against Nuclear Power] may be going strong in opposing nuclear power, but it cannot do much while opposing governments.” All the same he feels reassured that the movement is now “spreading to neighbouring states.”

“I don't really know if and when the plant will be commissioned. The fact that we are a headache for the pro-nuclear establishment is our victory,” he adds, just a couple of weeks ahead of the slated commissioning of the Kudankulam nuclear plant. Udayakumar’s camp is hoping that the ongoing legal proceedings will delay the commissioning to some extent.

Another protest

Just as you wonder if there was a tinge of resignation in his voice, he speaks of a series of protests and demonstrations planned almost all through December, spilling over into January. “Activists from all over India are coming soon. There is another demonstration planned with political parties that support us.” According to him, it is the failure of elected representatives to engage with the locals that allowed someone like him to step in. All they want, he says, is someone who will listen to them.

“Until now, we protested in a peaceful manner upholding our principle of non-violence. But if governments do not respect that, the message going out to youngsters is that henceforth, only Maoism will work in India.”

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Biased reporting is not good journalism. Can Meera Srinivasan substantiate how Udayakumar's battle is losing steam? You would like for us to believe that, don't you? And while the matter of starting operations at KKNP is still being considered by the Supreme Court of India, the highest judicial authority in India, how can Meera Srinivasan say categorically that it merely weeks away from the commissioning of KKNP? Who is her source? Or is she the authority to decide on such matters while the Supreme Court is still discussing this? Udayakumar's camp is not hoping that the plant will get delayed to some extent - maybe she must read and listen more! They want to stop the commissioning of this plant since the people are not willing to sacrifice their lives and livelihood to potential nuclear radiation.

from:  Chandramohan
Posted on: Dec 4, 2012 at 02:14 IST

This article seem to put Udaykumar sir in dull light. If India shows
such blatant & ugly disrespect, disregard, dishonor, insensitivity to
his movement of truth & non-violence, It is natural for anyone to get
frustrated. Today's dullness is only to bring tomorrow's delight.
cheers to you Udaykumar sir. Our minds are always with your agenda.
Surely, Godliness has its own patterns. God knows when to do what to
whom.

from:  Lokesh
Posted on: Dec 3, 2012 at 00:34 IST
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