Published on Monday, 05 March 2012 17:15
Written by Radical Socialist
Eminent Indians Protest Harassment of Anti-Nuclear Activists
*Eminent Indian Citizen, including members of the govt’s own National Advisory Council, acientists, intellectuals, social activists and prominent
personalities from film and art circles have come out to oppose the harassment of Koodankulam activists.*
This is the same “thinking component” of the Indian society about which our Prime Minister claimed that they are supportive of nuclear power in general
and Koodankulam nuclear power project in particular. He also used the opportunity to blame “the foreign hand” for anti-nuclear protests in India.
But PM’s claim proved to be as hollow and contrary as his previous claim before Grorge Bush that all Indians love him !
Several eminent citizens, concerned about nuclear safety and the government’s campaign of slander against the Koodankulam anti-nuclear plant
agitation in Tamil Nadu, have signed a public statement denouncing the government’s high-handedness against the peaceful protesters in
Koodankulam. This statement was released today in New Delhi in a press conference addressed by senior journalist and peace activist Praful Bidwai,
Anil Chaudhary of Indian Social Action Forum and P K Sundaram, Research Consultant, Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP).
They include Aruna Roy, Harsh Mander, Farah Naqvi and AK Shivakumar, all members of the government’s National Advisory Council; social scientists
Romila Thapar, Deepak Nayyar, Amit Bhaduri, Sumit and Tanika Sarkar, Rajeev Bhargav, Ramachandra Guha, Zoya Hasan and Nandini Sundar; former Atomic Energy Regulatory Board chairman A Gopalakrishnan, and former civil servants/diplomats SP Shukla, EAS Sarma and Nirupam Sen.
The signatories also include writers Arundhati Roy, Adil Jussawalla and Vandana Shiva; scientists PM Bhargava, MV Ramana, Suvrat Raju, Shankar
Sharma and Vineeta Bal; former Navy chiefs L Ramdas and Vishnu Bhagwat, and Maj-Gen SG Vombatkere; former High Court judges Hosbet Suresh and BG Kolse-Patil; and activists and others such as Surendra Gadekar, Shabnam Hashmi, Ashish Kothari, Sharmila Tagore, Ram Manohar Reddy, Sadanand Menon, Sumit Chakravartty and Sripad Dharmadhikari.
The statement is of vital public importance in view of the government’s plans to forge ahead with nuclear power expansion regardless of its safety
and economic issues, and strong public opposition to new nuclear reactors.
*Stop Harassing Anti-nuclear Activists in Koodankulam: Say Eminent Citizens*
*March 5, 2012*
We are dismayed and pained at the government’s campaign of vilification of the sustained popular movement against the Koodankulam nuclear plant, which has raised vital issues of atomic safety. These issues have assumed pivotal importance worldwide after the Fukushima disaster, the world’s first
multiple-reactor meltdown. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has trivialised the movement, and the five months-long relay fast by thousands of people,
by attributing it to “the foreign hand”, or Western non-governmental organisations, without citing even remotely credible evidence.
This is part of a growing, dangerous, tendency to delegitimise dissent. If we reduce genuine differences and disagreements with official positions to
mere plots of “subversion” by “the foreign hand”, there can be no real engagement with ideas, and no democratic debate through which divergences
can be reconciled. Absence of debate on nuclear safety, itself a life-and-death matter, can only impoverish the public discourse and our democracy. The “foreign hand” charge sounds especially bizarre because the government has staked all on installing foreign-origin reactors and tried to dilute the nuclear liability Act under foreign pressure.
The claim that all is well with our expansion-oriented nuclear power programme sounds hollow in the absence of an independent, thorough,
transparent review by a broadly representative body, which includes non-Department of Atomic Energy personnel and civil society representatives. Some of us called for this 10 months ago. But the government ignored our plea. Its attitude to nuclear hazards is worrisome given its abysmal and persistent failure to protect Indian citizens’ lives and rights in the Bhopal gas disaster.
We urge the government to cease harassment and persecution of activists of the anti-nuclear movements in Koodankulam and other sites, to drop
concocted charges against them, and instead to resume dialogue. Until people’s fears and concerns are allayed, all nuclear power-plant
construction must be halted. There must be no use of force—categorically, and regardless of the circumstances. Ramming nuclear plants down the
throats of unwilling people will usher in a police state.
A K Shivakumar
Abdul Raheem TM
Abhay Vir Singh
Admiral L. Ramdas
Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat
Ajaya Kumar Singh
B K Pal
B N Thakur
Capt Rama Rao
Justice B G Kolse-Patil
Justice H. Suresh
Kamal Mitra Chenoy,
Kamayani Bali Mahabal
L S Chawla
Lata Mani, Bengaluru
M G Devasahayam
M V Ramana
Maj Gen. S G Vombatkere
Mr N Madhusudhan
P K Sundaram
P M Bharagava
Pijush Kanti Das
Rajaneesh S R
Ram Manohan Reddy
S Alok Kumar
S N Malakar
S P Shukla
Sudhir Chella Rajan
Swathi S Senan
Uma V Chandru
V K Yadavendu