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India: Conflict Over Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant Continues

The Atomic Power Project in Koodankulam in the Tirunelveli district of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu has started operations last month amidst protests (see Global Voices report). The plant has started generating electricity but the situation is becoming worse as arrests are still being carried out and protesters remain in jail. This week also marks a call for a fortnight of protests across India in solidarity with people’s struggle against the Nuclear Plant.

On Sunday, 14th of October, the revolutionary Democratic Front issued a statement condemning the illegal detention and, arrest on the members of an all-Indian fact finding team to Koodankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu. The team was detained at Nanguneri on the 12th of October, 20 km away from Koodankulam on charges of “illegal assembly”. After a daylong detention, the police charged them under different sections of Criminal Law Amendment Act. The team members have been taken to Palayamkottai prison.

According to Sanhati:

“The people of Koodankulam have been bravely fighting against the nuclear power plant which has come up in their homes and hearths for months now. The government instead of responding to their just demands and concerns for the immense security risk and the environmental hazard that this plant can cause on the surrounding area, has responded with the most cruel repression on the protesting masses. Their attempt to restrict and repress this fact-finding team also clearly shows how they do not want the people to speak out or even knows about the conditions in Koodankulam or about the valiant movement the people are fighting there. The government is simply trying to intimidate and throttle all voices of solidarity and support to the people fighting against Koodankulam nuclear plant.

Protesters across the nation send in their signatures to kudankulam, India, in solidarity with the anti nuclear campaign. Image by Dipti Desai. Copyright Demotix (15/03/2012)

Also on Sunday, the Socialist Janata (Democratic) Party in Kerala voiced support to people agitating against the proposed nuclear project at Koodankulam in Tamil Nadu.

Women from the protests are still in prison. Anitha S. writes about them in a post titled ‘Koodankulam women from prison: Tell everyone we are still here !:

Xavieramma said, “We are here so that the world will not see any more nuclear power plants that are dangerous and uneconomic… I saw that there are so many people in various parts of the country who are raising their protest. It is not just about losing their land and sea, but it is about the creation of spaces where life itself is in danger. Who would want to live in such places?”

As another woman Selvi said, “It is only after being part of the struggle that we realized that trying to establish one’s right to live as one wishes, pursuing traditional livelihoods and also questioning activities that are being implemented without consulting the people is equivalent to crime and sedition.”

As Sundari said, “We are here for a common cause- we are here for the world.

They wanted to tell the world that they are here, inside, locked up only physically within concrete and iron.

“Tell everyone we are still here”.

They are still in the Women’s Prison of Trichy, holding on to their vision of a world that is “free from one of the most toxic of human inventions”.

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