February 1st, 2012
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Kudankulam Protesters assaulted

kundankulam-protestKudankulam: Representatives of Peoples Movement Against Nuclear Energy, the organization spearheading the campaign against the Kudankulam Nuclear Plant and 20 women supporters were brutally beaten up by Hindu Munnani activists and Goondas inside Tirunelveli Collecotrate compound, while they were on their way to attend the much awaited talks with the Central Government Expert Panel. The activists claim that local Congress leaders were also involved in the attack. Those injured have been admitted in nearby hospitals.

The Palayamkottai police have arrested 14 persons, including Hindu Munnani State vice-president V.P. Jayakumar, in this connection. They were remanded till evening.

The Central team had to abruptly adjourn the talks following the unsavoury developments. The date for the next round of talks, will be finalized after holding talks with the convener of the Central team A.E. Muthunayagam and convener of the anti-KKNPP struggle committee S.P. Udayakumar, who declared, after the scuffle, that the ongoing protest would continue with much vigour and there was no scope for further talks with the Central panel since there was no safety and security for the anti-nuke activists who come for talks.

Even as the Central team members were waiting at the Collector’s chamber on the first floor of the Collectorate for the arrival State panel members M. Pushparayan and Rev. Fr. M.P. Jesuraj, a group of Hindu Munnani activists and local office-bearers, led by Mr. Jayakumar, came to the venue to submit a memorandum to the Collector, seeking immediate arrest of Dr. Udayakumar and others, including RC Bishop of Tuticorin Diocese Rt. Rev. Yvon Ambroise “for inciting violence and triggering panic by spreading rumours about the KKNPP.”

While Mr. Jayakumar was speaking to the waiting reporters, the sports utility vehicle carrying anti-nuke protestors, including Mr. Pushparayan, Rev. Fr. Jesuraj, Dr. Udayakumar and Muhilan entered the Collectorate premises. On seeing them, about 15 Hindu Munnani activists accompanying Mr. Jayakumar charged towards the vehicle and forcibly opened the door to drag Mr. Muhilan out of the vehicle. A group of 16 women, all accompanying the anti-nuke protestors in a separate van, surrounded the Hindu Munnani activists and assaulted them with their footwear.

Even as the protesters informed their relatives about this incident, church bells in all coastal hamlets of the district were sounded around 11.15 a.m. mobilizing fishermen from all these villages. The supporters and villagers gathered near the Kamaraj statue close to the main gate of KKNPP site an hour later. A road roko was staged condemning the attack.

“These high handed methods make our suspicions about the ulterior motives of the nuclear lobby stronger. All this while the Kudankulam Anti Nuclear protest has stood out as a symbol of non-violent protest. This move of attacking movement leaders is a strategy of trying to create tension and turn the movement violent. This instigated or sponsored violence can intimidate some people for some time; but it cannot hope to suppress truth forever! It is good for the concerned authorities to desist from resorting to violence and terror to safeguard their vested interests   Let them remember that our constitution is still a democratic one,” said protest supporters.

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