AN URGENT APPEAL TO “THE CONSCIENCE OF THE NATION” ON HUMANITARIAN GROUNDS
Public Statementby the Civil Society Organisations on the Human Rights Violations unleashed by the State against the democratic public actions by the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy
Reiterating the words of Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer on the use of Central Armed Forces to overpower peaceful resistance to the Nuclear Power Project: “Please emphatically withdraw the use of armed forces to break up the peace resistance by the people. After all, the Defence is to defend the people, not to break up Gandhiansatyagraha. – Solar Ever, Nuclear Never”
The police and the para-military forcesunleashed baton charge on the people engaged indemocratic public actions in Koodankulam and Idinthakarai villages in Tirunelveli on 10th September 2012. The brutality of the state has resulted in the loss of life of a fisherman from the village of Manapaduin Tutucorin District was killed as a result of the police firing. Hundreds of women and children in and around Idinthakarai are living in constant fear of life.This is in violation to Article 21 that ensures protection of life and personal liberty.
The act of using the police and the para-military state is but a deliberate attempt to trample underfoot the peaceful resistance of those who were only exercising their Constitutional Rights guaranteed under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution that guarantees all citizens the freedom of speech and expression and the right to assemble peacefully.
We condemn the act of this “Police-State” for having unleashed violence against the people who were but expressing their dissent in a democratic manner. The people were and still are raising critical questions about the reactor that still remains unanswered. Various forums were used to flag their concerns about the safety of people that might be threatened with the installation of the reactor. Despite all these efforts till date the Safety Analysis Report is still not shared with the people. It makes us wonder who is lesser democratic?
The people gathered in Idinthakarai village to express their dissent when the plant officials had announced that enriched uranium fuel would be loaded in the reactor on September 2012. It is a shame that 8,000 sedition cases have been filed in a single police station – a war against the democratic struggle and here we are lauding ourselves to the largest democratic country.
We accept and acknowledge the fact that the nuclear debate is still ongoing however, the government should take measure towards creating a wider open/public forum for the people to debate and deliberate rather than resort to brutal actions against the people. We the civil society organisations urge the government to organize a wider consultation beforecontinuing the larger-scale nuclear expansion. We also urge that our country opts for the safest, sustainable, eco-people friendly energy future.
We therefore appeal to the conscience of the nation that this democratic process of the people demanding for their right to life and livelihood (another satyagraha) should not be considered an act of violence and the State should immediately withdraw their oppressive police forces on humanitarian grounds.
We place the following demands to the State in the purview of human rights principles that are irrevocable and applicable for all.
- Government should immediately stop intimidating and harassing the peaceful protesters and resort to withdrawal of the police and para-military forces
- The Government should take appropriate and just actions against the police personnel who have resorted to firing leading to the death and injury of the people
- Immediate medical care for the injured to be provided and by no means shall food supply and water supply be curtailed to the village in and around Koodankulam
- We oppose any unlawful detention and we urge that they may be produced to the court
- Civil society monitoring team to be constituted comprising of social/legal and academic activists and a status report should be produced and publically shared.