G Babu Jayakumar Express News ServiceLast Updated : 29 Oct 2011 08:53:59 AM IST
CHENNAI: The ongoing protest at Idinthakarai village might have put a big question mark over the commissioning of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) with the people digging in their heels and general support swelling elsewhere day after day. But many people in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu are raising a question over the leadership of the agitation and wondering if a communal dimension has also crept into the movement now.
Apart from seeing the hand of the Roman Catholic Church clergy behind the latest round of protests, many activists and leaders who are opposed to the idea of nuclear energy in principle feel that it is the fishermen community alone that is all out for the scrapping of the project, which has been executed at a cost of over Rs 13,000 crore.
Though the poster boy of the agitation, S P Udayakumar, does not belong to the fisherman community and hails from Nagercoil, Balaprajathipathi Adigalar, the head priest of the Ayyavazhi cult in Kanyakumari district, feels that the church leaders have appropriated the protests.
What was once a common struggle by the people of Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi and Kanyakumari districts has now become an exclusive war fought by the people of the coastal areas, leaving out other community leaders, feels Adigalar, saying that in the event of an accident in the proposed nuclear plant, the inland people would be the most affected. “The fishermen at least can escape through the sea,” he argues.
He criticises the present leaders for resuming the protest even after the government gave an assurance that it would look into the issue. Initially, Adigalar had addressed the crowds in Idinthakarai when the indefinite fast was held. He was also invited to be part of the delegation that went to meet the Prime Minister in New Delhi.
But after the meeting in Delhi, he was not involved in the discussions, he says. “No one knows who is behind the present leaders. No committee has been formed and inland people’s aspirations have not been taken into account,” he says.
Even the people of Chettikulam village, 8 km away from Koodankulam, who are not part of the agitation, see the present protests engineered by the church leaders. They too feel that the fishermen community has appropriated the struggle.
Latest developments elsewhere too suggest that it is the church that is at the forefront. The Bishops Council of Tamil Nadu has backed the protest and most of the people who took part in the rally organised at Nagercoil on October 24 were from the various Catholic parishes.
That most of the non-fishermen community leaders who started the campaign against the Koodankulam project way back in 1987 and worked hard to create awareness against nuclear energy have moved out and are claiming to be giving only ‘moral support’ is another indication that they are not wanted now.
Though they are not that forthcoming on the church hijacking the struggle all of a sudden, there are indications that they feel neglected.
But then, with the local people, who are determined to stop the plant come what may, having gained so much knowledge about the dark side of nuclear energy and so frightened about a Fukushima happening in their backyard, it will be difficult for anyone, including church leaders to now call it quits.
Whether or not any non-governmental organisation (NGO) is backing the agitation, it is for sure, as Udayakumar claims, that it is the people who are protesting; and convincing them that the plant is safe will be a real challenge to the Central government and the nuclear scientists.
Catholic Church involved in Kudankulam Nuclear Plant agitation – Subramanian Swamy
Posted on October 20, 2011 by IS
I demand an explanation from the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh as to why his Secretary Mr. Pulok Chatterji, with the help of the Maharashtra Chief Minister Mr. Prithviraj Chavan, has entered into negotiations with the Catholic Church in Mumbai to help resolve the protests taking place against the Kudankulam Nuclear Plant. Does this mean that the Catholic Church is behind the agitation in which case it is highly objectionable and calls for action under IPC Sections 153A & B, 295A and 505(2). It also exposes that the PMO is under the clutches of the Catholic Church probably due to the extra-constitutional authority exercised by the now ailing Ms Sonia Gandhi who appears to regard Mr. Pulok Chatterji with the PMO as her personal civil domestic servant judging by his role when she was hospitalized in New York. During the period of her hospitalization, Mr. Pulok Chatterji was frequently seen arranging for pizza and other snacks for her large Italian entourage numbering about fifty and living in plush apartments in New York close to the hospital.
The Prime Minister, if he is committed to secular[ism], that is, not prejudiced against the majority Hindu community and biased in favour of the Christians because they are patrons of Ms. Sonia Gandhi, should put an end to this condemnable negotiation on the viability of the Kudankulam Plant. The Church has no business to decide whatsoever on whether a new reactor set up after Government approval is to be opposed or supported. Let the Catholic Church restrict itself to religious matters otherwise persons like myself would be free to investigate the practices of the Church such as in appointment of Bishops on direction from the Vatican, and receipt of funds from abroad. – Janata Party Press Release, Oct. 17, 2011