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India: Statement from Eminent Citizens on Harassment of Anti Nuclear Activists in Koodankulam

5 March 2012

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Anil Chowdhary, Praful Bidwai releasing the joint statement at the Press Club of India
5 March 2012

Statement:

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 Gopalakrishnan

A K Shivakumar

A. Muthukrishnan

Abdul Raheem TM

Abhay Vir Singh

Achin Vanaik

Adil Jassuwala

Admiral L. Ramdas

Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat

Ajay Kumar

Ajay Patnaik

Ajaya Kumar Singh

Ajit Patil

Alaka Basu

Ali Javed

Amar Jesani

Amartya Paul

Amit Bhaduri

Amita Baviskar

Ammu Joseph

Anil Chaudhary

Anuradha Chenoy

Arun Mitra

Aruna Rodrigues

Arundhati Roy

Asit Das

B K Pal

B N Thakur

Bhimrao Bansod

Bina Sarkar

Bindu Desai

Capt Rama Rao

Chaitali Bhowmick

D Sucharitha

Deepa Dhanraj

Deepak Nayyar

Dinesh Abrol

Dipankar Gupta

EAS Sharma

Elisa Morsicain

Farah Naqvi

Gabriele Dietrich

Gargi Chakravorthy

Gauhar Raza

Harsh Mander

Himanshu Thakkar

Imrana Qadeer

Janaki Nair

Jaya Mehta

Jayati Ghosh

Justice B G Kolse-Patil

Justice H. Suresh

Kamal Mitra Chenoy,

Kamayani Bali Mahabal

Kavita Shrivastava

Kumkum Roy

L S Chawla

Lakshmi Kutty

Lalita Ramdas

Lata Mani, Bengaluru

Lawrence Surendra

M G Devasahayam

M V Ramana

Maj Gen. S G Vombatkere

Malobika

Mary John

Meenakshi Ganguly

Meha Dixit

Meher Engineer

Mili Sahu

Minati Panda

Mira Shiva

Moggallan Bharti

Mohan Rao

Mr N Madhusudhan

Muhammaed Muhassin

Mukul Kesavan

Mukul Sharma

Nabita Baruah

Nandini Gooptu

Nandini Sundar

Navroze Contractor

Neeladri Bhattacharya

Nirupam Sen

P K Sundaram

P M Bharagava

Pijush Kanti Das

Pooja Ravi

Prafulla Bidwai

Prafulla Samantara

Prakash Katoch

Prashant Bhushan

Pratihar Sharma

Primila Lewis

Rafiq Ellias

Rajaneesh S R

Rajeev Bhargav

Rajesh Tandon

Ram Manohan Reddy

Ramchandra Guha

Ramila Bisht

Romila Thapar

Rupa Chawdhary

S Alok Kumar

S N Malakar

S P Shukla

S.Srinivasan

Sadanand Menon

Sanghamitra Gadekar

Sankar Narayan

Sankara Narayanan

Santanu Chakravarty

Seema Mustafa

Shabnam Hashmi

Shankar Sharma

Sharmila Tagore

Shripad Dharmadhikari

Shruti Dubey

Shruti Jain

Soumya Dutta

Soumya Rajan

Sudhir Chella Rajan

Sumit Chakravartty

Sumit Sarkar

Supriya Varma

Surendra Gadekar

Suresh Khairnar

Susan Visvanathan

Suvrat Raju

Swathi S Senan

Tanika Sarkar

Uma V Chandru

Umasankar behera

V K Yadavendu

V.N.Sharma

Vandana Shiva

Vineet Tiwari

Vineeta Bal

Vinod Koshti

Vivek Sundara

Xavier Jeyaraj

Zoya Hasan

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