Ex-Madras chief justice faults police for action on anti-nuclear activists
Former chief justice of the Madras high court A PShah has criticised the Tamil Nadu police for the way they handled the anti-nuclear protests at Idinthakarai, near Kudankulam. "The people are showing their grievance.
Instead of addressing the issue, the police were using force, which is not in the interests of democracy," he told reporters on Monday. Shah is part of a three member independent jury which has been conducting public hearings and collecting testimonies from residents of Idinthakarai and journalists.
The jury, constituted by the Chennai Solidarity Group for Kudankulam Struggle, includes Geeta Ramaseshan, senior advocate at the Madras high court, and a Prabha Kalvimani, a professor. Shah said, "The police are under the impression that they can suppress protests through force.
But the protests do go on." Anti-nuclear protesters observing an indefinite hunger strike at Idinthakarai near Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district withdrew the fast on Monday following a request from the retired judge, said S P Udhayakumar, convener of the People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy, spearheading the protests.
"But the relay fast and protest will continue,'' Udhayakumar said. Meanwhile, the jury will shortly submit a report to various government agencies including the national human rights commission.
Shah said people have the right to gather and protest. There have been no incident of violence and yet they have been labelled 'anti-national'. "Every project needs a public hearing which hasn't happened.
The environment impact assessment which was done in 1988, the safety reports and seismic reports are not available to the public. The government should come forward with these documents and address the people," said Shah.
He stressed that technologically-advanced countries were shying away from nuclear energy. "Only 30 have nuclear energy. Countries like Germany, Japan and Switzerland have abandoned nuclear technology," he said.
Officials, however, have been maintaining that the protest was not entirely peaceful, as the campaigners had prevented workers of the plant from getting into the premises.