'Action on anti-K'kulam protesters unjustified'

'Action on anti-K'kulam protesters unjustified'

The recent police action on anti-Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) protesters  represented a “very serious acts of illegality” and has created “fear psychosis among the people in the area”, said  a three-member fact finding team led by former Bombay High Court judge Justice B G Kolse Patil.

“I have never met with such atrocities of the police and the people are terrified,” Justice Patil said on Wednesday, speaking via Skype from Pune after one of the panel members released the Committee’s Report in Chennai on Wednesday evening.

The police had opened fired at protesters on September 9-10 near the sea and tear-gassed them in a nasty showdown.

“Even if tear gas is to be used, no warning was given as gleaned from the statements of the people we met in five villages in the vicinity of Kudankulam. Police have violated all laws and it appears that the government has suspended all constitutional rights of the people of Kudankulam area,” Patil said.

The other two members Kalpana Sharma, senior Mumbai-based Journalist and Tamil writer R N Joe D’ Cruz — said they had visited Idinthakarai, a tsunami colony nearby, Vairavikanaru, Kudankulam and a Juvenile Home at Palayamkottai on September 20-21.

Referring to the testimonies given by the people about the “violence let loose by the police against women, children and the elderly”, they said the “actions of the police also included acts of looting, damage to public and private property, open intimidation and use of abusive language and sexual gestures against women.”

At Idinthakarai, the centre of the anti-KNPP struggle for over a year now, the villagers complained about the “desecration” of the Lourdes Matha Church that involved allegedly breaking an idol of Mother Mary. The report said that  most houses were locked “as people are afraid to return to their homes.” “Villagers in Kudankulam are even more terrified as they live closest to the nuclear plant,” added the report.

In all these villages, irrespective of the arrested persons’ age including four juveniles and several senior citizens, “one common factor was each of those arrested were charged under identical IPC sections that included 124A (sedition) and 121(A) (waging war against the State),” the report said.