'Foreign NGOs backing Kudankulam protests'

Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Monday said that foreign NGOs are supporting the demonstration against setting up of Kudankulam nuclear power plant.

"Foreign NGOs are supporting the movement. We are aware about the NGOs which are behind it," Shinde told reporters during his maiden monthly press briefing held on Monday.

Though seven NGOs are being probed under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), the MHA has not been able to find their direct link with fueling the agitation against the power plant. What came across in the inspection of records and initial probe being carried out by Tamil Nadu Police and Central Bureau of Investigation is irregularities in spending of funds received through donations. The Prime Minister in an interview to a foreign magazine had blamed some US-based NGOs for creating hurdles in launching the Kudankulam nuclear plant.

Shinde said that the prime minister and the UPA government are clear that the nuclear energy is clean and cheap though the initial cost might be high. 

The minister said the government is contemplating lowering of education qualification standards for selection in central police organisations. Many organisations have launched recruitment drives in these states but due to low educational qualification, very few could be recruited.

"We are now thinking to reduce the qualification standard for hiring these youth in police forces," he said.

The minister, who is taking a stand different from the hardline adopted by his predecessor P Chidambaram, said the Jammu and Kashmir model will be replicated in 13 affected states where developmental schemes are already on. On a question that there are intelligence inputs of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba joining hands with the Maoists, he said that the government is fully alert to the activities of foreign organization which is unlikely to happen as the country’s economy grows.

Having rubbed the states wrong way while attempting to create NCTC, Sushilkumar Shinde also said he wants to create a separate force for intelligence gathering, despite the fact that Intelligence Bureau already exists.

"This is in total preliminary stage. I will share more details later," Shinde told reporters when asked the ratio of a state intelligence officer versus local people (1:40,000) is very poor.

Lathicharge was necessary, says Jaya

The police lathicharge and bursting of tear gas shells on those opposing the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) on Monday was to avert a “bigger danger to the people” which was imminent if the anti-KNPP protestors had managed to lay siege to the nuclear power station, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha said, reports DHNS from Chennai.

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