Activists demand release of Kudankulam fisherwomen

power plant By Eunheui

By Team FI

Women’s rights activists in India have written to the Prime Minister and the Tamil Nadu chief minister, demanding immediate release of the three fisher-women who were arrested for taking part in the anti-nuclear protest in Kudankulam.

Xavier Ammal, Selvi and Sundari were arrested on September 10th when the police cracked down on the dharna organized by the villagers who are from the villages in the vicinity of the nuclear plant. They are currently lodged in Trichy women’s prison.

The three women have been accused of sedition and waging war against the state .The FIRs record that the villagers were armed with deadly weapons like “aruval (machetes), knives, sticks and crowbars.”  However, according to activists, television footage of the September protests and police action bear testimony to the fact that the protestors were unarmed.

Xavier Amma injured her hand after she ran and fell into the sea to escape the baton-wielding police. Both Selvi and Sundari have small children and Selvi’s son is epileptic.

Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, a joint India-Russia project, is one of many that India hopes to build as part of its aim of generating 63,000 MW of nuclear power by 2032. Construction of the plant has been delayed following mass scale protests by the locals and People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE).

According to PMANE, more than 1 million people live within the 30 km radius of the plant which far exceeds the AERB (Atomic Energy Regulatory Board) stipulations and evacuating such a large number of people quickly in case of a nuclear disaster could be unfeasible.

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has also been filed against the government’s civil nuclear programme at the Supreme Court of India.

Featured photo: Kudankulam nuclear power plant- by Eunheui-Flickr

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