ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

The Koodankulam Conundrum

The force used to break up a peaceful struggle will reinforce cynicism about the political system.

If people are increasingly getting disillusioned with the political system in India you have to look no further than Koodankulam, Tamil Nadu, to understand why. As long as it suited Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa to support the people’s struggle against the Russian-designed nuclear power plant, the protests continued unhindered. As soon as her party, the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), won a crucial by-election in Sankarankovil, the road was clear for a dramatic about-turn.

Suddenly, the AIADMK government saw no problem with the power plant and decided that those protesting peacefully all this while were obstructing work and hence had to be forcibly evicted. On 19 March, as part of “Operation Koodankulam” over 6,000 police and paramilitary personnel were sent down to break up the protest. At the time of writing, about 200 activists had been arrested, some of them charged with sedition. Water, in what is a water-starved village, and other essential supplies were denied entry into Idinthakarai, where the protests are located. Power supply too was cut off. Both were resumed after a day’s break but the message was loud and clear – protest at your peril. Meanwhile, other groups like the Hindu Munnani, taking the cue from the government’s fl ip-flop, decided to take the law into their own hands by attacking a school run by Meera Udayakumar, wife of S P Udayakumar who is one of those spearheading the protest.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here

Back to Top