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Dr. S.P. Udayakumar (Kumar to his friends) is a longtime leader in the peaceful resistance to nuclear power in India, as well as a leader in the NIRS/WISE international network. The Indian government has threatened to charge him with terrorism and "waging war" for his role in leading the nonviolent citizens movement against operation of the nearly-completed Kudankulam nuclear reactors in the Tamil Nadu section of India.

He is currently with 10,000 other people protesting near the reactor site. Some are on a hunger strike. Some 10,000 police have surrounded the protestors and reportedly are blocking the media from entering the area.

Dr. Udayakumar was able to get the letter below the fold to members of the NIRS/WISE network describing the current situation at the protest site. We share it, and a couple links, with you now.

Earlier today, at least 500 people, including local political leaders--some reports say as many as 3,000--were arrested in an attempt to march to the protest site.

For continuing information on the struggle against the Kudankulam reactors, visit

Videos of the police clampdown and of Dr. Udayakumar are available from India's NDTV here.

Note, this diary is also available on NIRS website and will be updated periodically there.

Michael Mariotte
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
March 23, 2012

Idinthakarai Update
March 22, 2012

The situation here is still grim. There are some 10,000 people from coastal and interior villages. Most of them are women including pregnant women and nursing women. I myself saw many nursing women feeding their babied sweetened water as there was no milk coming to the village. More people are coming by boats and on foot as the access roads are all blocked by police. There is no bus service to this place. There is no sanitary complex and women bear the brunt of it. No public health official has ever come to help the people.

Some 15 of us have been on indefinite hunger strike and no medical doctor has ever come here to check our health. The Dinamalam newspaper has reported today that we have all been eating heartily and pretending to be fasting. If this anti-Tamil newspaper can prove that there is a trace of food in my or Pushparayan’s stomach, we are ready to leave this protest. Otherwise, will they stop publishing this stupid paper? We are fighting for a cause not prostituting our soul like the Dinamalam does.

On March 21, my mother had received a phone call from one advocate by the name T. Udayakumar and he claimed he was calling from the DGP office in Chennai. He asked my mother to ask me to leave the protest so that all the cases against me would be dropped and I would get whatever I ask for. My mother told him that I was not a man of that nature and ended the conversation. That evening the Superintendent of Police of Tirunelveli District called me on my mobile and asked me to surrender alone so that people would not be affected. I told him that I was all ready for that but the people here at Idinthakarai also wanted to get arrested along with me and they would not let me go alone. I proposed to the SP to send enough number of buses and two police officers so that there would not be any stampede or tussle and we all would board the buses peacefully and go wherever they wanted us to go. He would not accept that proposition and said in anger: “This is the last time I talk to you.” There ended our conversation.

That night the police officer who was on security duty at our SACCER Matriculation School outside Nagercoil town had received a phone call from the Kanyakumari District SP office to go away from the school. Then a group of vandals, obviously with the blessings of the police, had entered the school and destroyed it very badly. The compound wall was completely demolished and the gate damaged. They ransacked the school bus after tearing down the car shed’s iron shutters. They had entered the KG classrooms and destroyed all the small little chairs which my children were using to sit on. They had broken all the tables and chairs and I do not understand why they punished my little children like this. The vandals had entered our school library and destroyed all the 12 glass bookshelves and tables and threw away the books. My 250 children are all avid readers and have been using our library extensively. This reminds me of the burning of the Public Library at Jaffna a few years ago.

The governments and the police treat and speak of me as if I were Osama bin Laden and our people some mindless terrorists. We resent this inhuman and brutal treatment . Electricity, water, milk and other essentials have been cut for two days; people cannot go out of and come into Idinthakarai as there is brutal police control. We are surrounded by police and I truly feel like I am at Mullivaickal. We are a group of simple people who have been fighting nonviolently and democratically against an untested foreign reactor with all kinds of problems and hiccups. We have not done any harm to anybody or anybody’s property in our eight-month long struggle. The whole country is proud of our people.

The stalemate continues. There are protests happening all over the country and the state of Tamil Nadu. Whoever is farsighted enough to worry about the future of India’s “ordinary citizens,” our natural resources, the well-being of our progeny, the possibility of losing our freedom to the New Nuclear East India Companies and most importantly, the democratic fabric of our country support us. We thank them and you for standing with us. We are ready for any brutal police action but will not give up our nonviolent noncooperation campaign.

S.P. Udayakumar

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Comment Preferences

  •  American "News" (0+ / 0-)

    is too busy to report on what may be the largest anti-nuke protest in the history of the world because we are an enslaved, ignorant society now.  

    Our "news" is reporting on the most "horrific incident" of someone throwing flour on Kim Kardashian during a red carpet event.

    I kid you not.

    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." ~Jimi Hendrix

    by Damnit Janet on Fri Mar 23, 2012 at 09:49:18 AM PDT

  •  Kudankulam protests and US NGOs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    On February 14 Indian PM Singh complained in the pages of the AAAS magazine "Science" that the protests at Kudankulam were being funded by U.S. non governmental organizations (NGOs).  

    While the government did not name them, it did deport a German national and said later his laptop and cell phone had the names of several organizations alleged to be providing the funds on them.

    A complete report on the allegations, including denials by Indian NGOs, can be found at ANS Nuclear Cafe, the blog of the American Nuclear Society

    ANS Nuclear Cafe

    Idaho Samizdat, a blog about nuclear energy The hard reality about facts is that you can't change them

    by djyserv on Sun Mar 25, 2012 at 10:38:44 AM PDT

  •  A clear case of middle-class Western (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    NGOs instilling fear into India's rural masses.

    Indian PM Singh claims anti-nuclear protests funded by U.S. NGOs

    Months of protests have significantly delayed the hot start of twin Russian-built 1000-MW VVER nuclear reactors in Kudankulam (KKNPP 1-2), located in Tamil Nadu, India’s southern-most state. The protests are being paid for by funds from foreign anti-nuclear groups.

    That’s the fiery and spectacular allegation made by India’s sitting prime minister Mammohan Singh this week, who got a pat on the back for his remarks from none other than Russia’s ambassador to India, Alexander Kadakin.

    Singh also alleged that the funds came from non-government organizations (NGOs) based in the United States and Scandinavia. This charge of interference with India’s nuclear program produced a quick response in the form of a denial from U.S. Embassy charge d’Affaires Peter Burleigh, who said that the United States supports India’s nuclear energy program.

    Singh’s remarks appeared in the Indian press one day after the Russian and Indian foreign ministers had met in New Delhi. For their part, at that meeting Russians officials reportedly expressed impatience with the lack of progress in getting the Kudankulam reactors up and running. The Russians have built two 1000-MW VVERs there. They want to build more, but can’t unless these first two enter revenue service.


    Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

    by davidwalters on Sun Mar 25, 2012 at 10:42:59 AM PDT

    •  as stated above (0+ / 0-)

      we know of no US money going into Indian protests. Certainly NIRS has not provided any funding. But Dr. Udayakumar is part of the NIRS/WISE international network (which provides him and his group zero funding...), and a personal friend, so we're trying to bring his and the protestors' story to the U.S.....

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