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Indian government’s nuclear attack on democracy

Nuking democracy at Kudankulam Financial Chronicle, By Praful Bidwai    Oct 03 2012 Is nuclear power going to be promoted in India only at gunpoint, and in brazen violation not just of people’s fundamental rights, but also of the norms and rules to be set by an independent safety regulator?
Go­ing by what the government, department of atomic energy, Nuclear Power Corporation (NPCIL), and Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) are doing at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu, the answer is an emphatic yes.
To start with, the AERB is not an independent agency. As shown by the Comptroller and Auditor-General’s recent report, it’s slavishly subservient to the government and DAE-NPCIL. Nor has it evolved transparent safety norms. Its integrity is in grave doubt. It does not disclose information that’s vitally important to public safety. Critical documents on safety codes/ ­guidelines have disappeared from
its website, for example,…

… the state and central police have unleashed repression against Kudankulam’s grassroots protesters. Although there hasn’t been a single violent incident, the police have lodged first information reports against several thousand people, charging many with sedition and waging war against the State, on this scale, probably for the first time since independence. On September 10, they attacked pe­aceful unobtrusive protesters with batons and
tear-gas. They literally drove many agitators into the sea, molested women, looted ho­mes and killed a fisherman.

A fact-finding team led by Justice BG Kolse-Patil describes this as a “reign of terror”, with
“totally unjustified” physical abuse, vindictive detention of 56 people including juveniles, and sexual harassment. Such police behaviour “has no place in a country that calls itself democratic”.
This comes on top of systematic demonisation of the protesters as “foreign-inspired”, repeated harassment of their sympathisers, and deportation of three Japanese activists, who wanted to express solidarity with them. Such repression is becoming routine in India and undermining democracy. Th­at’s the additional price nuclear po­wer will extract from us.


October 4, 2012 - Posted by | civil liberties, India

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