Human rights organizations across the country have decided to observe a day’s token fast on Friday, March 23, which happens to be the anniversary of the martyrdom of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru, to express solidarity with the anti-nuclear agitation at Kudankulam and to protest against the police crackdown there
The idea of a token fast was mooted by Neeraj Jain (<firstname.lastname@example.org>) of Lokayat, Pune, and endorsed by groups in different cities, including Medha Patkar and her colleagues in the National Alliance of People’s Movements and Arati Chokshy of Bangalooru.
One hundred sixty-four activists from all over the country, in a joint letter to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, said: “It is with profound sadness and anxiety that we read your press statement and witnessed the large-scale mobilization of police in the areas around the Idinthakarai protest site and the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant.
”The decision to give the go-ahead to the power plant is ill-informed and has created a dangerously volatile situation. We, the below-signed, condemn the deployment of thousands of armed policemen in an area where people have been peacefully protesting for six months. Knowing the resolve of the agitating communities, the Government's hard-line stance and police posturing can only lead to a nuclear Nandigram.”
The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union has invited groups and individuals to join an urgent protest demonstration against the Kudankulam crackdown outside Tamil Nadu Bhavan, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, on Thursday, March 22.
In a statement, JNUSU President Sucheta De said, “Tamil nadu CM Jayalalithaa, who had earlier 'distanced' herself from the Kudankulam project and 'shared' people’s safety concerns, has made the expected about-turn to give green signal to the Kudankulam Nuclear project, as soon elections in the Assembly constituency of Sankarankoil got over on March 18. Her cabinet has just declared that its safety concerns have been allayed, and that the TN government will soon commission the plant.
“On cue, 6000 armed policemen, led by Tamil Nadu’s Additional Director General of Police, three DIGs, and 20 SPs have unleashed a massive crackdown operation that can turn into a state-sponsored carnage of its own civilians.
“Thousands of police have surrounded Kudankulam and Idinthakarai. Hundreds of villagers marching to Kudankulam are being threatened, harassed and arrested. Also several key leaders of the movement including Advocate Sivasubramanyam, and Rajalingam have been arrested and charged with sedition including Sections 121, 121A and 153A.
“According to posts from local people, police and para-military forces are terrrorizing people by marching into the villages every now and then. Police have clamped down Section 144 CrPC prohibiting people from congregating in any manner. Despite this curfew, people keep coming to Idinthakarai by boats and on foot.
“In view of this unfolding crackdown, which is intensifying every moment, JNUSU is calling for a United Protest Demonstration at Tamil Nadu Bhawan at Chanakyapuri in Delhi, on 22 March (Thursday) at 11 am in solidarity with the fighting people in Tamil Nadu.
“JNUSU demands the withdrawal of the Tamil Nadu cabinet resolution giving sudden green signal to the Kudankulam project. JNUSU demands an immediate end to all forms of crackdown, harassment and arrests of villagers, peaceful protestors and leaders of the anti-Kundankulam movement and scrapping of this disastrous project.”