ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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State Repression at Kudankulam

The People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) strongly condemns the ongoing repression by the state on the peaceful protest against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project in Tamil Nadu, particularly since 8 May 2012. It condemns the policy of using tactics of threat and intimidation to crush a democratic movement. The clampdown began shortly after the People’s Movement against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), which is leading the local struggle, held a meeting in Idinthakarai village on that day with large numbers of the local community. A press conference was also held the same afternoon in the village in which PMANE representatives were able to show the press ledgers with tens of thousands of signatures of people from some 60 villages opposing the nuclear power project. They could also produce some 24,000 voter ID cards that people from surrounding villages had surrendered to register their protest against the state’s callous attitude towards the 302 women and 35 men who had been on indefi nite hunger strike in Idinthakarai village since 1 May 2012, protesting the setting up of the Kudankulam nuclear project and expressing their concern. This present round of intimidation by state authorities began with large numbers of police personnel being deployed soon after these meetings in and around Kudankulam. Section 144 was imposed in the area. The police surrounded the village of Idinthakarai, the main site of struggle, and refused to allow visitors to enter the village to meet the protestors or allow the villagers to leave even as the condition of several of those on hunger strike deteriorated.

The fear of the activists and villagers – that during this present attack in May 2012, the authorities are preparing to swoop down and arrest, charge and detain them as they had in March – thus seems well grounded. Reports that the police are apparently also conducting fl ag marches in surrounding villages contribute to this fear. Since the time when the village was thus cordoned off, some among those on hunger strike have been persuaded to break their fast by the villagers on health grounds, while other protestors continue to fast.

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