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Start Speaking For Us, About Us …

Letter From The Women Of Koodankulam

28 September, 2012


The Women
People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy
Idintakarai /Koodankulam
Thirunelveli District
Tamil Nadu

Dear Sister,

We are writing to you again, the third time in the past 2 months. So much has happened to us since we last wrote to you on Aug 31 st 2012 . So much that we feel one whole life time has passed. Sometimes we wonder why many of you have been silent. But we are also reassured by the letters of Mahasweta Devi and Arundathi Roy. We know of how Lalitha Ramdas, Vaishali Patil, Aruna Roy and Medha Patkar have been supporting us. We are glad that many women in many parts of the country are following our life and raising public opinion against nuclear energy. Yet, we feel the voices have to be loud. Louder. Loudest in these troubled times.

Yesterday we all walked to the cemetery nearby where the graves of our loved ones are situated. In a moving scene we buried the bodies of four of our sons. We cried like it was real. Many of us were uncontrollable in our grief. We went back to Aug 15 th when we mimed wailing and chest beating while carrying the dead body of ‘Democracy'. Then we had with us the strong Xavieramma, the steadfast Sundari and the energetic Selvi. Many of us were laughing on that day, hopeful of our future.

Yesterday we missed our three sisters, their directions and presence of mind. We thought of how they stood out in the teeming crowd on 9 th and 10 th September which could be why they were selected and picked up. The Police might have thought our resolve will fade if those in the forefront are removed. But little do they know that through these years of dedication to the struggle, each one of us has gained commitment, dedication and capacity to lead. From the young Labisha, Shobana, Lysiska and Shiji who prepared well for the Press Conference in Chennai to Jasmine, Resmila, Rishika and Juliya who are vociferous about the issues involved, we have only become clearer. With the leadership of women like Melrit, Inita, Sahayam, Mary, Tamil and so many others, we are together like never before.

We are troubled by the fear that still reflects in the eyes of the young ones and residents of the Tsunami Rehabilitation Colony where 450 houses nearest to the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant bore the brunt of the Police attack. Many houses were vandalized, women abused and children threatened and chased by the armed Police force. We are all now together day in and out in the Samara Pandal near the Idintakarai Church . We eat and sleep together. Though this gives us immense courage and sense of safety, we know this cannot go on.

Many of us are ill with cough and fever. We have joint pains and other physical injuries. Yet we are determined to be together. We know that provisions and money for our food come from our friends in many places. We are so relieved to share the food and eat together. Yet we long to go home, bathe and wash clothes in our courtyard, cook a simple meal, wait on the seashore for our men to go to the sea and come back with the day's catch. We want our children to return to schools and their studies, to fall back into the routine and discipline of healthy life. Yet we know that this sacrifice, this staying away from a normal routine is the only way that our long-term message of peace will spread all over the world. We know that the independent fact finding team which attempted to visit the children in Palayamkottai Juvenile Home were not allowed to. What is the great crime they did? We want no more child to cry, no more woman to lose her husband, no more mother with a missing son and no more sister to languish in a jail.

We are convinced that the PMANE is not just about one village, one community or one KKNPP. It is about how people should live in peace and harmony, with safety and health, with honesty and compassion. This is what makes us stay in this Samara Pandal with minimum facilities. We are shrouded here by the luxurious blanket of hope and trust, peace and non-violence that is spreading to our side from all over the world.

At this point of time we demand of those amongst you to intervene and speak loud for us. We are marooned here like refugees in our own homes.

Please assure us that:

1 No more police force will be deployed near our village to disrupt normal life;

2. All the processes that ban our free movement to hospitals and schools will be lifted;

3. Our rightful and just demands will be heard;

4. All work on the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant is stopped and information on what is what is really happening will be made available;

5. The details of where our 4 sisters are will be made available and all unfair charges against our children in the Palayamkottai Juvenile Home be removed.

Do take this call and start speaking for us, about us …

With care and hope,

Sisters from Idintakarai

(As told to Anitha.S (catastrophe64@gmail.com) on 25 th and 26 th September 2012 .)




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