State Terror Continues In Koodankulam: Idinthakarai Is Being Choked
By Lalita Ramdas, P K Sundaram & Nityanand Jayaraman
21 March, 2012
In the last 24 hours, the police in Koodankulam has been terrorising and choking the defiant villagers. After every 2 hours, the police tries to enter the village and then withdraws, provoking and intimidating the people. They have demanded that S P Udayakumar, Pushparayan and other leading activists of the Koodankulam anti-nuclear movements must ‘surrender’ to them’. Villagers have given a befitting reply by saying the police will have to arrest all 20,000 of them first to get to their leaders.
6,000 police, including para-military forces, have surrounded Idinthakarai village near Koodankulam nuclear power plant where 20,000 people from surrounding villages have gathered to protest against the government’s insane and arrogant nuclear push. The protesters are demanding removal of police force, resumption of dialogue and stopping of work at the nuclear power station that is being started flouting all the norms.
Food has been completely blocked. Yesterday, they ran out of material for gravy, and they had to take a boat to a nearby village, replenish supplies and return to the village.
Idinthakarai has no reliable source of fresh water. On a daily basis, up to 50 lorry loads of water aer required. Water is purchased by families at the rate of Rs. 2.50 per pot. Since March 19, when the announcement was made and police deployed, no water tanker has been allowed to enter the villages, and there is a serious scarcity of water.
The local shops have no supplies. Only bananas are available. No cool drinks or any snacks.
School going children are not being prevented from going to school to write exams. Other younger children have opted against going to school, and aer staying at home.
Coastal guards have been deployed at the sea and accessing the village by boat has also become impossible.
The medical shop has very limited supplies, and there are no good doctors in the area. Yesterday, one elderly gentleman had some difficulty (details not known), but he was prevented from getting medical access. Another pregnant woman got pains, and the police prevented her from leaving for at least an hour. Details will be obtained in a few hours about these two cases, and others like this.
All media access to Irindakarai has been blocked, although the ticker on NDTV is saying that DGP denies this and says OB vans are being allowed.
Vandals Attack Meera Kumar’s School at Nagarcoil
Meera, Dr. S P Udakakumar’s wife, runs a school in Nagarcoil. The school has been badly damaged. The compound wall has been destroyed in many places. Meera spoke to NDTV a while ago and we are watching to see if her interview is carried. Till 10 am no interview with Meera carried on NDTV
The library vandalized totally. The KG class furniture was thrown out and broken. Windows and doors smashed. The lab was saved because of a grill door, but they tried and smashed other doors and windows. Other damage in the upstairs classrooms.
The school caters to 280 children coming from the neighborhood, and NOT from affluent Families. The school has been nurtured and built with love and care , class by class, year by year, to provide a creative and different educational experience for kids from underprivileged backgrounds.
Meera had asked for police protection when the movement took on momentum, because of threats she had received. The protection was provided. But yesterday the lone policeman who came in the morning, disappeared and did not return.
This is shocking. This is an attack on innocent children. We are hearing that supplies of milk and food are being prevented from reaching the school.
Today they have had to close the school, there is a lot of debris blocking the entrance and the planned parent teacher meeting cannot be held. The parents are totally supportive,and there has not been a single absentee in the last weeks.
As Meera asks to the people and leaders of the state, and the people of the country and decent human beings everywhere: what have we done wrong? Why take it out on the children? All we have done is to ask for renewable sources of power. IS THAT CONSIDERED A CRIME? IS THAT ANTI NATIONAL?
Please circulate widely. Is this democracy? And is this now the way non violent, peaceful protest and dissent will be treated in our country?
Lalita Ramdas has been an educator and activist with a broad and varied experience spanning a professional life. She has been involved into examining national and global economic, social and ecological trends and developments within a human rights framework – especially looking at the connectivities with gender, minority and indigenous communities and policy formation. Lalita Ramdas is a national co-ordination committee member of the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace.
P.K Sundaram is Editor of DiaNuke.org, a website on Dialogues and Resources on Nuclear, Nature and Society
Nityanand Jayaraman is an activist and member of Chennai Solidarity Group for Koodankulam Struggle