September 10th, 2012
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Brutal police violence against peaceful anti-nuclear protest at Koodankulam; one killed

Koodamkulam Protest

Staff Reporter

Koodankulam (Tamilnadu): In a case of the State using its military might to suppress a peaceful protest, the villagers who had gathered in thousands to protest against the nuclear plant at Koodankulam had to bear the brunt of police and military brutality on Monday. A fisherman was killed in the Police firing. The protesters claimed that a baby was also killed in the lathicharge. Though some images of a mortally injured baby have surfaced on the net, it could not be ascertained whether this was taken in Koodankulam.

The deceased has been identified as Antony Samy(40), a fisherman from Thoothukudi. Latest reports from Idinthikarai village say that the Police have been going from house to house and breaking things.

The Police had earlier unleashed strong repressive tactics to scare away the protesters. Many of the protesters were lathicharged mercilessly. The protesters, including women and children, jumped into the sea to escape the lathicharge. Tear gas shells were also lobbed into the midst of the crowd. Several children reportedly fainted after inhaling the gas. Soon the agitation spread to the nearby districts too.

The protesters have blocked the Thoothukudi-Nagercoil National Highway. The Police is not allowing in Visual media into the protest area. Yesterday itself, the electricity and phone connections to the area were disconnected by the Police.

More than 25,000 protestors started marching towards the nuclear plant on Sunday demanding the stoppage of fuel loading in the reactor. The protests went peacefully on Sunday. But the Police’s plan to somehow break the siege of the reactor ended up in violence against the peaceful protesters.

They were stopped when they were about 1.5 km from the nuclear plant. Even though there was strong pressure from the Police, the crowd which included women, children and senior citizens were determined not to disperse. This prompted the Police to resort to firing.

The protest leaders said that the struggle will continue until the Government close downs the plant.

Visuals and images of the police action against the protesters evoked strong reactions in social networks. Twitter was abuzz with koodankulam trending for sometime in the morning. Right wing commentators were also out in full strength parroting the line taken by the nuclear lobby. There were some posts from the right wing, branding the protesters as traitors.

The Former President APJ Abdul Kalam’s assertion that the plant is safe has been used by such commentators to prove the protesters wrong. However, many have raised a question on Kalam’s standing as a nuclear scientist.

“Kalam is not a nuclear scientist per se, even though he whelmed the Pokhran tests. He is an aeronautical scientist. Half of India fell for the Koodankulam lies, the day Abdul Kalam hailed the plant as 100% safe. Kalam should have used the good will he had and stood on the side of justice, rather than with the nuclear lobby,” said one of the tweeters.

In Kerala too, the police action has evoked strong reactions. Protest marches were seen in many parts of the State. The Opposition Leader V.S. Achuthanandan has said that he will visit the site of the protest soon.

The State continued to repeat the statements on the safety of the plant. MoS V Narayanasamy defended the action against the protestors at the Koodankulam nuclear power plant saying that there had been multiple probes to ensure that the nuclear power plant posed no risk to the villagers living near it.

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2 Responses to “ Brutal police violence against peaceful anti-nuclear protest at Koodankulam; one killed ”

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