The Weekend Leader - From ground zero

Police waiting for us to collapse: Udayakumar

S P Udayakumar   |   Kudankulam


Vol 3 | Issue 12

Into the eighth day of his hunger strike against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant, S P Udayakumar writes about the ground conditions in Idinthakarai that has come under a police siege


Pushparayan, the other 13 friends and I have become weaker and tired; but we are still able to sit up and talk to people. Today is the eighth day of the indefinite hunger strike.

Volunteers carrying away a protestor, whose health had deteriorated (Photo: Kebiston K)

Nobody from the State Government or the Central Government has bothered to come and see us or talk to us. A medical team came to check our health day a couple of days ago but no public health officials came and offered any help even though some 10,000 people have been congregating here at Idinthakarai every day since March 19th.

Our friends from Idinthakarai have been cooking some simple meals for all these people and most of the people are sleeping here, as the prohibitory order of 144 is still in effect.

They are scared of going out of this foot-ball stadium sized space in front of the St. Lourdes church. The police are waiting for me and Pushparayan to collapse so that we would go to a hospital for treatment and they could arrest us there. How cruel and anti-people our governments could become!

In the meantime, the Tamil Nadu government has convened a meeting of some 13 Panchayat (local body) leaders to plan to distribute the Rs. 500-crore package the government has announced for the victims of nuclear development.

The state police continues its crack down; they tried to arrest three men at Koodankulam and but they gave them the slip.

The police are visiting the coastal villages and ordering the fishermen to go fishing in order to create a picture of normalcy in the area. They also ask them not to carry any food by boat to Idinthakarai and threaten them with cases if they did. People defy this kind of intimidatory exercises.

This is a struggle (but ‘war’ in the eyes of our opponents) between the rich, famous, powerful, upper-class and upper-caste pro-mega-development folks and poor, unknown, powerless, lower-class and lower-caste pro-sustainable development masses.

The governments work for the profit of Russia and not for the people of India. The governments are engaged in massive power cuts over the past few months in order to create a huge hatred against us and opposition to our struggle.

Now that they have resumed work at the Koodankulam plant, the officials say they do not know how long it will take for electricity generation. Now people of Tamil Nadu know that Koodankulam is not the answer for our power crisis.

India is a highly and densely populated country and even a small mishap at a nuclear facility will create such a havoc and mayhem for millions of people and jeopardize the survival and wellbeing of millions and millions of our brothers and sisters.

We are not against the progress of our country and state but we feel that such a progress should be longstanding and sustainable for our future generations also. We have no moral authority to poison the resources of our future generations in order to produce electricity for us for 40 years.

We say that let India be a world leader with creative and original ideas and programs rather than be a slave of Russia, United States and France.

The governments here are taking up a new weapon now and that is our alleged links with Naxalites (Maoists).

They are fabricating evidences and concocting conversations to establish that we have connections with Naxal youth and trying to portray us as a violent group. The whole world knows that we have been struggling for the past eight months in a nonviolent manner with absolutely no violence or terror.

People power or nuclear power? Moral power or money/military power? Civil power or State power? Which side you are on? The people of Tamil Nadu, and the people of India, please think of this!

People here and I may die in this hunger strike or in a few years out of old age. But please think of the world, country, and the kind of State you want to have for yourself and your progeny.

That is what human politics is all about. I would leave with the golden lines of Martin Niemoller, a German pastor and theologian for you to reflect on:

First they came for the communists,

and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,

and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,

and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me

and there was no one left to speak out for me.

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