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An Urgent Appeal To The Conscience of Nation on Koodankulam

By Concerned Citizens

14 May, 2012

Dear Fellow Citizens of India,

On the occasion of our Parliament, the pinnacle of democratic governance, celebrating its 60th anniversary, our hard earned democracy is being ruthlessly repressed and violently suppressed by the State. Within the accelerated race towards ‘destructive development’ and the generation of nuclear power to fuel such ‘development,’ entirely peaceful mass protests voicing people’s legitimate dissent are brutally put down. The common man, woman and child are unheard. In utter desperation, people at large are surrendering their 'Voter ID cards,’ the ultimate symbol of 'people's power,' which is the essence of any genuine democracy. Can there be a more ominous way to dissent?

Despite gains made by the anti-corruption movement, various actions for social, gender and ecological justice, other struggles in various parts of the country to safeguard people’s rights for their lives, dignity, resources, and livelihoods, the people’s movement in Koodankulam demanding a safe future is facing the callous repression of the government and continued apathy from the public at large. Disappointingly, our mainstream media also persists in under-reporting this genuinely populist movement.

Today is the 13th day of the Indefinite Hunger Strike in Idinthakarai village. It is appalling that nobody from the Tamil Nadu, or Central, Government has come to speak with the people, and that police strength in the area has been enhanced, with every possible intimidating tactic –including taking away the food ration cards of agitating villagers – being resorted to.

We appeal to you in a state of urgency and desperation.

The debate on India’s energy future is far from settled. We will need broader consensus and greater persuasion to ensure that India opts for the safest, most sustainable people-centric energy future.

Undeniably, the reactor project in Koodankulam perpetrates too many unacceptable violations of norms and procedures. The agitating people are peacefully and persistently trying to raise several important questions – both site-specific and generic with regard to nuclear power – through all possible forums. Many independent experts and scientists have already emphasized the various dangers of going ahead with the Koodankulam reactors. (a brief of the related facts and arguments CAN/SHOULD BE attached)

At this critical juncture, we urge taking a much-needed pause in realization of the need to have a wider consultation before embarking on the large-scale nuclear expansion that this government is planning.

We entreat you to demand that the government immediately stop intimidating and harassing peaceful protesters.

It is imperative that we immediately unite by raising our voices to defend democracy and the ethos of our country. Unacceptable precedents like the outright repression and silencing of the Koodankulam people’s movement will have adverse implications for all future individual and collective struggles.

With best regards,

Prashant Bhushan

Vandana Shiva

Admiral L. Ramdas

Lalita Ramdas

Surendra Gadekar

Sanghamitra Gadekar

Narayan Desai

M G Devasahayam

Gnani Sankaran

Achin Vanaik

Suvrat Raju

Saraswati Kavula

G Sundar Rajan

Adil Ali

Gabriele Detrech

Ramesh Radhakrishnan

R R Srinivasan

Asit Das


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