Peace for the World

Peace for the World
First democratic leader of Justice the Godfather of the Sri Lankan Tamil Struggle: Honourable Samuel James Veluppillai Chelvanayakam

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Temple built in the final killing field of the war

Thursday, 31 May 2012

A Buddhist Temple has been set up in the Vattuvagal area in the Mullaitivu District ignoring protests by the people. The temple has been built by the army when people are still being resettled in this area where the final stages of the war took place.

Even three years after the end of the war, the road to Vattuvagal was re-opened only last week. Only tourists were allowed into the area previously. The road is now accessible for people for transportation, but the area has not yet been permitted for resettlement of civilians.
The temple has been built in the ground near the Vattuvagal Bridge. Although the Northern Province Governor has issued an order against the construction of the temple, the people in the area say the temple has been built without heeding the directive.

Michael Roberts Inc.

academics living in cloud cuckoo land
| by Pearl Thevanayagam
(May31, 2012, London Sri Lanka Guardian) By the time readers go through the likes of Michael Roberts, Dayan Jayetillaka and other long-winded social and political scientists' essays (what science has got to do with social studies remains a mystery) in the newspapers and websites the world would have moved on faster than a scud missile. Yet, these writers insist the readers should take their seminal works very seriously indeed. Quite literally they are inept at comprehending that the shelf-life of a newspaper is less than 24 hours and those of websites few hours if not minutes. Newspapers are now a luxury to the average person and they had better have their money's worth and news which are easily digestible rather than reaching for Roget's Thesaurus.

Call me a cynic if you wish but where else but in the US would one find universities offering PhDs for those who have failed to attain a decent A/L qualification in their home countries to enable them to pursue university education. Just pay for a semester at any one of the mushrooming colleges in the US and they will find you a suitable subject to enable you to obtain a Masters or better still a PhD. And you might just get a scholarship or assistant-ship if you played your cards right. I am telling you crossing my heart and hoping to die that even McDonalds are offering degrees. Flipping burgers or selling hot dogs could be your gateway to a degree.

Now physical scientists are an entirely different breed altogether and their painstaking and laborious research does benefit mankind be it in medicine, chemistry, physics, mathematics, astronomy, biology and a host of other useful disciplines.

Roberts opined in a local website - popular for publishing lengthy discourses on any given topic and generally restricted to the owner and editor of the website, their near and dear academic colleagues and essentially those from the late Dr Neelan Thiruchelvam's Hoover Institute and CIA funded ICES (International Center For Ethnic Studies) yet calling itself citizen journalism - that journalists are incapable of writing at length giving the readers reasoning and rationale for their stories.

Don't get me wrong. There are world renowned academics like Noam Chomsky and you will not get any hi-faluting Latin and quoting ancient Greek philosophers, Gramsci or Sophocles from him nor for that matter does Prof. G.L. Peiris wear his many law degrees or his Oxbridge tenure and Rhodes Fellowship on his sleeve. Although the latter has fallen by the wayside when he entered politics and has to play down his intelligence on par with the average politician's who has the brain of a single cell organism. They are effective reader-friendly academics and they certainly do not need props since they can stand on their own and their words are their own. 

Little does Roberts realise that journalists go through reams of academic drivel to bring out the substance in summary so that they give the news and not theses. Leading editors in Sri Lanka have years of experience in reporting on a multitude of topics, professional training locally and abroad and are also qualified lawyers, economists, scientists and accountants. Experienced journalists can spot a charlatan miles away and they are also very astute at getting to the bottom of the truth. They also consume Hansard three times a day, five times a week not to mention scores of books to give good or bad reviews.

The proof readers (now extinct) and sub-editors have far more knowledge of how the readers want their money's worth than these so called academics in ivory towers. I will bet my bottom dollar that Roberts has never set foot in the North and East but he soldiers on writing about the ethnic conflict just because he can and there are websites who are gullible enough to buy his convoluted and empty rhetoric.

So, what is going to be the future for honest journalism? A PhD in social or political 'science' who cannot complete a sentence under fifty words laced with paradigm and polity or a bona fide journalist who would make that extra effort to get to the bottom of a story.

The writer is Asia Pacific Journalism Fellow at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, California and a print journalist for 22 years. She can be reached at

On the (Non)sense of Being ‘United’ and/nor/or ‘Unitary’

31 May, 2012

Image courtesy The Hindu

I must admit that reading Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke’s (DJ) recent piece, on Groundviews and elsewhere, on Mr. R. Sampathan’s (RS) speech at the ITAK convention, left me very disturbed.
In his piece, DJ draws attention to one statement in the speech in particular, which he notes is central to revealing that the RS/ITAK are separatists in disguise. The statement in question reads thus:
“To put it more strongly, the international community must realize through its own experience, without us having to tell them, that the racist Sri Lankan government will never come forward and give political power to the Tamil people in a united Sri Lanka” (emphasis added).     
Continue reading »
Tamil Nation & Sinhalese Nation
by Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

(May 31, 2012, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) I write in response to the Sri Lanka Guardian article ‘Breakout blueprint : ITAK's attack plan’ by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke.

Dr. Jayatilleke states about the Hon R Sampanthan, MP’s recent speech ‘It sheds light on a number of key strategic issues and should make clear to the international community that the matter of political dialogue leading to ethnic reconciliation is, has become or is becoming rather more complex and fraught than is customarily thought.’

I identify with this difficulty and allocate the main reason as being delay in implementing the main LLRC recommendations. The greater the delay, the stronger the claim for Devolution of Powers and therefore the weaker the need for Reconciliation. Faith needs no reconciliation and the main reason for Devolution claim is lack of common faith between the leaders of the two sides.

This is confirmed by Mr. C. Naganathan in his Sri Lanka Guardian article ‘Tamils, it's time to wake up!’ where he quotes the Hon R. Sampanthan:

“…Our patience however, will not be everlasting. Our patience too, has its limits. Once we have reached that limit, we will move onto the stage of our effort. We will not hesitate to gather our people together and with the support of progressive forces in our country, and the international community, even engage in a non-violent struggle. We will decide on specific deadlines and when the time comes for such action, we will act…”

Dr. Jayatilleke highlights further from the speech ‘If we behave in a manner that results in the international community getting embroiled in problems or controversy it is our community that will face the consequences. Our priority now is to expose the Sri Lankan government that for so many years in the past attempted to describe the ethnic problem and a ‘terrorist problem’. We must clearly prove to the international community that the Sri Lankan government, which has delayed for so long in giving the Tamil people their rights, has never made any genuine effort to do so. In other words – we must prove to the international community that we will never be able to realize our rights within a united Sri Lanka. We must be patient until the international community realizes for itself that the effort we are involved in is doomed to fail. To put it more strongly, the international community must realize through its own experience, without us having to tell them, that the racist Sri Lankan government will never come forward and give political power to the Tamil people in a united Sri Lanka. (My emphasis- DJ)’

I agree with Dr. Jayatilleke identifying with this as an indicator of weakening prospects for Reconciliation. If the Sri Lankan Government was also honest to its People, they would come out with similar statements for their side. That is our reality. The moment LTTE was classified as Terrorists, ethnic divide being the cause was naturally suppressed. Without this, there is no need for Reconciliation. Reconciliation is part of the cure only if racism is recognized as the root cause. If Terrorism is recognized as the root cause – then there is no need for reconciliation – as per the mind of such a concluder. The fact that Tamil leaders are declaring that racism is the root cause and the Government is declaring that terrorism was the root cause – automatically sends us in different paths. We may reach the same goal of independence but through different paths.

So long as majority Tamils believe and their leaders think that the war was due to race related problems (which may include the Tamil side racism also) one has the responsibility to take that as the right reason given that Tamils as a Community suffered more than any other group due to the war. Common Belief / Faith in General Administration needs to be higher than Belief/Faith through the Cultural path for the Unitary system to successfully lead all people towards self-governance.

Belief is identified:
(i) At the objective surface level - through Common identity or Repetitive manifestation of one form - as in prayers (this is confirmed through the net balance of objectively measurable outcomes)

(ii) At the subjective level – through common path - continuous use of common principles and cultures. This is confirmed through the exercise of the right of a person to express her/his views without needing to prove to others following in the same path - the rights and wrongs of her/his expressions and/or conduct through objectively measurable means/evidence – as is required at level (i) above (this is confirmed through adherence to Due Process which confirms the common path). The travel through Common path develops faith based belief directly between persons – without the need to calculate through objectively measurable outcomes. It is confidential sharing.

(iii) At the root level – where one acts as per one’s conscience. This is beyond calculated measures and is observed through the self confidence with which one naturally connects the law to the experience. At that level, the law and the experience are One to that person.

Unitary State requires (i) above for which each individual citizen ought to feel free to produce her/his own outcomes without interference. This is not the case even with the Sinhalese who have the majority power to elect government. Sinhalese voters have the natural powers to elect those who are like themselves. Through faith based voting, the voters share also their weaknesses with the elected government. That is the way of Nature. As per public reports the common Sinhalese does not feel free to produce her/his independent outcomes at the public level. How could Tamils be justly expected to believe more than the Sinhalese with voting power, that they would be free to produce their own independent outcomes as per their interpretation of the law and/or as per their belief?

(ii) above is the path of Devolution based on particular faith. Those using subjective powers need this common faith when judging others outsider the path of the law.

More and more Tamils are expecting the gap to become wider. The Hon. R.Sampanthan has just confirmed this. The more Tamils connect to other Tamils outside Sri Lanka, the greater the likelihood of them becoming a Tamil Nation which would include part of Sri Lanka. That is the way of Nature. Similarly, Sinhalese connecting to Sinhalese outside Sri Lanka would become Sinhalese Nation which also would include part of Sri Lanka. In both instances the Sri Lankan parts may exclude those who fail to connect beyond their local borders.

We may not have the authority to Administer and directly influence the outcomes we believe to be just. But each one of us has the power to show at our individual as well as group levels the effects of the causes that hurt us and led us to lose faith. Those who have lost faith in the current Sri Lankan Government would be punishing that Government by using the express path to realizing nationhood without needing Sri Lanka’s status as a country. That would be the broadest non-violent way to realizing the freedom we have earned.
The Globe and Mail

Charles Taylor’s heavy sentence a stark warning to world leaders

The crimes, the judge said, were some of the most evil in human history. The result was an unexpectedly harsh sentence: 50 years in prison for Charles Taylor, the former Liberian president who orchestrated a decade of diamond-fuelled atrocities in West Africa.
It was one of the heaviest prison sentences ever imposed for war crimes. Many analysts had been expecting a lighter sentence, but presiding judge Richard Lussick said the 50-year term was a reflection of Mr. Taylor’s horrific crimes in a position of high authority.

The former warlord and president is the first ex-head of state to be convicted by an international war crimes tribunal since the Second World War. He was convicted of providing weapons and supplies to help rebels to murder, rape and mutilate tens of thousands of people in Sierra Leone from 1991 to 2002, using the proceeds of illicit “blood diamonds” to fuel his crimes.
Judge Lussick made it clear that the court was entering uncharted territory, setting a legal precedent by harshly sentencing a political leader who had never directly perpetrated the crimes for which he was convicted.
The 50-year sentence will be a dramatic warning to other world leaders: they can be sentenced to decades in prison even if their hands never touch a victim.
“He was found responsible for aiding and abetting some of the most heinous and brutal crimes in recorded history,” Judge Lussick said in his reading of the sentencing today in The Hague at the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
“While Mr. Taylor never set foot in Sierra Leone, his heavy footprint is there…. The lives of many innocent civilians in Sierra Leone were lost or destroyed as a direct result of his actions.”
Normally an accessory to a crime would receive a lighter sentence than the direct perpetrators – but that principle doesn’t apply in such an unprecedented case, Judge Lussick said.
“As we enter a new era of accountability, there are no true comparators to which the trial chamber can look for precedent in determining an appropriate sentence in this case. However, the trial chamber wishes to underscore the gravity it attaches to Mr. Taylor’s betrayal of public trust.”
The court quoted Mr. Taylor’s own boasts to justify its heavy sentence against him. “I was president of Liberia -- I was not some petty trader on the streets of Monrovia,” he had told the court.
Prosecutors had asked for an 80-year prison sentence for Mr. Taylor for arming and supplying rebels who committed gruesome crimes. “The purposely cruel and savage crimes committed included public executions and amputations of civilians, the display of decapitated heads at checkpoints, the killing and public disembowelment of a civilian whose intestines were then stretched across the road to make a checkpoint, public rapes of women and girls, and people burned alive in their homes,” the prosecution said.
The defence had sought leniency for Mr. Taylor because of his age and his expressions of sympathy to the victims. It argued that the former president should not be the scapegoat for a decade of war.
Mr. Taylor, ordered to rise to his feet for the sentencing today, showed not a flicker of reaction to the 50-year term. He has never admitted any wrongdoing or expressed any remorse for the atrocities.
His supporters have already said that he will appeal the guilty verdict. He will serve the jail term in a British prison.
Including the six years he has already spent in custody, the 64-year-old former president will be imprisoned until the age of 108, which is almost certainly a life sentence, although the tribunal is not permitted to impose life terms.
The 50-year sentence will be controversial in Liberia, where Mr. Taylor still enjoys strong support from many sections of society. But it was welcomed in Sierra Leone. “Some kind of justice has been done,” a Sierra Leone government spokesman said today.
Global Witness, an advocacy group that has campaigned against blood diamonds, welcomed the 50-year prison sentence but called for similar justice for Mr. Taylor’s victims in Liberia.
“Today’s sentence not only reflects the severity of Taylor’s crimes but sends a clear message that individuals who aid and abet war crimes can no longer act with impunity,” said Patrick Alley, founder director of Global Witness.
“Unlike in Sierra Leone, no court has been established to hold accountable those who perpetuated Liberia’s bloody conflict,” Mr. Alley said in a statement. “A quarter of a million people died in Liberia’s equally brutal civil wars, and yet many of those who committed these crimes, including companies and individuals that helped Taylor exploit the region’s resources to fund war, continue to live freely.”


Photo courtesy: Steve Chao /Al Jazeera via JDS
With our Government busy defending itself from war crime allegations, protecting the sovereignty of the country and advising the common man to say ‘no’ to Google, the Tamil leadership and, of course, the Tamil Diaspora dreaming of some mode of foreign intervention and drooling over the latest Channel 4 documentary, the Muslim Community deeply wounded by the recent developments in Dambulla, and the common man constantly worried over the ever increasing fuel price, it’s understandable why the journey towards achieving true and authentic reconciliation has become such  a tricky business in our country. With so many external factors coming into the equation (of achieving reconciliation) even Albert Einstein would have had trouble sorting things out and moving forward.    Continue reading »

Gota puts pressure on The Island

Thursday, 31 May 2012 

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is displeased with The Island Editor Prabath Sahabandu for failing to adhere to his request not to publish the word “General” before Sarath Fonseka’s name when publishing articles related to him. It is learnt that the Defence Secretary had on several occasions made this directive to the editor of the newspaper.

The Defence Secretary has also brought this matter to the notice of Chairman of Upali Newspaper that publishes The Island, Nimal Welgama, but to no avail, a senior Defence Ministry official said.
Since Nimal Welgama is also the Chairman of Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), the Defence Secretary has directed a senior SLT official to prepare a report on the financial assistance given by Telecom to Upali Newspapers. The Defence Secretary has said the report be handed over to him.
The Defence Secretary’s doubts over Upali Newspapers have increased since Manoj Abeydheera, who is among the group trying to promote Economic Developmnt Minister Basil Rajapaksa as the next leader of the country, is also a member of the newspaper company. Manoj Abeydheera was earlier closely affiliated to the Defence Secretary

Govt. responsible for CSE crisis - JVPThe main culprit behind the current Sri Lankan Stock Market crisis is the Government, JVP MP Sunil Handunetti said today. He added that he could without a doubt state that the Government’s political interference has led to the current market fiasco.

We challenged the government to publicize the list of companies who were the first issuer of the Stock Market, Handunnettti added. He claimed that the Government who used government funds and the funds of innocent employees was the first cause for the downfall of the so-called fastest growing stock market in the world. Insider trading which has plagued the stock exchange was brought about by the government, he said.


Eran WickramaratneMTV's Business in Focus interviews banker turned politician

Ekneligoda Case: Former AG must come to the court: Appeals Court decide

(Lanka-e-News-31.May.2012, 3.00PM) The Appeals Court in Colombo heard the case of Prageeth Ekneligoda’s disappearance today, May 31, at 10:00am. The Court gathered to receive an update of the current proceedings at The Magistrate Court in Homagama. The Magistrate had made an order May 17 to summon former Attorney General Mohan Peiris for testimony. Testimony would revolve around a statement he made at the UN Committee Against Torture in Geneva on November 9, 2011 that Prageeth Ekneligoda was alive overseas.

Today the State Counsel from the Attorney General’s Depart requested the Appeals Court to overturn the decision of the Homagama Magistrate to summon Mohan Peiris, on grounds that he made the statement while on government duty within his capacity as senior legal advisor to the cabinet. State Counsel argued that Peiris said that on government orders and officials are not required to disclose communications where “the public interest would suffer.” The State Counsel later argued that Peiris should not be “harassed” for carrying out government instructions. The Appeal Court ruled that the Homagama Magistrate is acting on the instructions of the Appeals Court to hear this case and had the freedom to summon Peiris. The Judge said that Peiris’s testimony should not be “pre-empted” and clarified that being summoned cannot be regarded as harassment. The Appeal Court Judge did point out that there was provision for the Appeals Court to hear a revision application if one is made, but ruled out a second objection from the State Counsel to postpone the scheduled hearing at the Magistrate Court on June 5.
The case will be heard at the Homagama Magistrate on June 5 at 1.30pm and the Appeals Court will gather again on July 23 to hear the Magistrate’s proceedings at 9.30am.
NATO-Russia Tensions
Threat to ‘European Security Architecture’
| by Mathews George Chunakara
( May 29, 2012, Geneva, Sri Lanka Guardian) Russia launched an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) last week; a few days after the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) announced its capability for an interim ballistic missile defence capability in Europe. The ICBM launched by Russia from the Plesetsk facility in the north-western part of the country adds more tensions and gives a clear signal to the U.S and its NATO allies over the deployment of a missile shield in Europe. A Russian Defence Ministry spokesperson Vadim Koval stated, “Russia’s ICBM is intended to strengthen the capabilities of Strategic Missile Forces, including its higher capacity for overcoming anti-missile defences.”

About ten days before the NATO summit in Chicago, the United States expressed its concern over a billion dollar arms sales to Russia by France, Germany and Italy, which was unprecedented in NATO members’ history.
Despite several discussions, NATO and Russia have failed to reach an agreement on deployment of missile defence systems in Europe. Although the two sides have agreed to keep on talking, they could not reach any amicable settlement. The Russians had warned NATO that time was running out, but finally NATO announced its ballistic missile capability in Europe and Russia went ahead with the launching of its ICBM. The argument that NATO’s plan to deploy an anti-ballistic missile system in Europe to destroy any potential Iranian nuclear-tipped missiles aimed at Europe has not been acceptable to Russia. The concern of Russian leaders has been that the deployment of this anti-missile system is mainly aimed at Russia’s nuclear arsenals, which will ultimately make their own defences vulnerable. Russia is concerned about the destabilizing effects of the proposed new missile defence system, as such it has been insisting for guarantees that the NATO plans are not aimed at limiting Russian nuclear capability. Russia was also seeking joint control over use of the system. Russian military leaders also announced that they would consider pre-emptively destroying the European missile defence system if it were deployed, because it would threaten Russia’s nuclear deterrent. Vladimir Chizov, permanent representative of the Russian Federation to the EU stated that, “We are not seeking political or military gains on this issue. We think it’s important to maintain the balance and stability. That’s why we openly say: if you do this, then we would have to do that. If you go further, then we would do more.” But, NATO’s response that the project is purely defensive and its missile defence system is not directed against Russia was not a convincing argument for Russia.

Competent authority chastises Sevanagala Sugar management

Thursday, 31 May 2012 

Competent authority for Sevanagala Sugar Factory Keerthi Kotagama has chastised its management for the mass wastage of funds allocated by the General Treasury for the running of the factory that was taken over by the state under the expropriation act.
Public funds have been channeled for the running of the factory since the takeover from Daya Group of Companies, but it had failed to show anything in return, he has stressed, according to highly placed sources at the factory.
Instead, the management is on a spending spree, giving various payments to the workers to appease them, recruiting political cronies etc, the competent authority has noted.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

New Delhi cold-shouldering Colombo for over two years
R. K. RADHAKRISHNAN     May 30, 2012
A 2010 photograph of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi.

A 2010 photograph of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi.
Return to frontpageSri Lanka and India haven’t had a bilateral engagement at the top-most levels in governance, reflecting the changing priorities in New Delhi towards its immediate neighbourhood. A series of issues between Sri Lanka and India since the close of the Eelam war IV in May 2009, which saw the demise of the Tamil Tigers, has seen New Delhi cold-shoulder Colombo for over two years.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has held bilateral meetings with his south Asian counterparts, either in New Delhi or in the capitals of these countries in the past year. While there was no official bilateral meet with Pakistan, its President Asif Ali Zardari met Dr. Singh in New Delhi in April this year — that was the first time in seven years that a Pakistan President was meeting the Indian Prime Minister.
Before his visit to Myanmar, Dr. Singh was in the Maldives (November 9-12, 2011), and became the first head of a foreign State to address the People's Majlis; toured Bangladesh in September 2011; met Nepal Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, Bhutan King Jigme Wangchuck, and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai in New Delhi, in October 2011.
That leaves out Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the only leader in the region whom Dr. Singh hasn’t consciously met in a formal bilateral forum — the two leaders have met on the sidelines of the 2011 SAARC summit in Addu City in the Maldives, and the last session of the United Nations General Assembly. These meetings are necessarily hurried and short, and nothing of substance can be discussed at any length.
The last time an Indian Prime Minister visited Sri Lanka was in 2008 — that too wasn’t for a bilateral meeting; it was for the SAARC summit.
The last bilateral summit between the two countries was when Mr. Rajapaksa visited New Delhi in June 2010. In his meetings with the Prime Minister, Mr. Rajapaksa made a series of promises, on devolution and related issues. None of these promises was kept, Indian officials said.
These assurances were repeated when Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna visited Sri Lanka and met the President in January 2012 and, yet again, in April this year, to Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj. The promises have remained on paper.
After the end of the war, India has pressed for a political solution to accommodate the legitimate hopes and aspirations of Tamils in Sri Lanka's Northern Province. New Delhi was repeatedly assured by Colombo that a solution would be found, even going beyond the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution. The Amendment, which many Sri Lankans say was thrust on it by India in 1987 as part of the Indo-Sri Lankan accord, granted certain powers to the Sri Lankan provinces. Though this provision exists in the Constitution, it has never been implemented.
Dr. Singh had, in fact, accepted an invitation to visit Sri Lanka in June 2010. Asked why a visit couldn’t be worked out, a senior Sri Lankan official said the Foreign Ministries of both countries had to work out details of the visit. “You should ask your Ministry of External Affairs. We are ready to welcome your Prime Minister anytime,” the official told The Hindu, when asked what outstanding issues stood in the way of a visit.
It isn’t merely Dr. Singh who seems to be staying away from Sri Lanka. His Cabinet, too, is. After the visit of Mr. Krishna in January 2012, there hasn’t been a senior Cabinet visit to date. The earliest slated visit is that of senior Congress leader and Union Minister Jairam Ramesh, in July. He has been invited by the Kadirgamar Institute, and will arrive here on a short visit on July 11.
Mr. Rajapaksa is in Thailand on a bilateral visit. He has recently been to Qatar, South Korea, Singapore and Pakistan.

Why people in Tamil Nadu are protesting 

nuclear energy

Featured Author: S.P. Udayakumar
We have been fighting against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) since the late 1980s. This Russian project was shelved right after the Soviet Union’s collapse and taken up again in 1997. The Indian government and Russians have constructed two huge reactors of 1000 MW each without the consent of or consultation with the local people. We have just obtained the outdated Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report after 23 years of long and hard struggle. The Indian nuclear authorities have not shared any basic information about the project with the public. They do not give complete and truthful answers for our questions on the ‘daily routine emissions’ from these reactors, the amount and management of nuclear waste, fresh water needs, impact of the coolant water on our sea and seafood, decommissioning costs and effects, Russian liability and so forth. We are deeply disturbed by all this.
Our people watched the Fukushima accident of March 11, 2011 on TV at their homes and understood the magnitude and repercussions of a nuclear accident. Right after that on July 1, 2011, the KKNPP announced the ‘hot run’ of the first reactor that produced an alarming amount of noise and smoke. Furthermore, the authorities asked the people, in a mock drill notice, to cover their nose and mouth and run for their life in case of an emergency. As a result of all these, our people in Koodankulam and Idinthakarai villages made up their minds and took to the streets on their own on August 11, 2011. Then we together decided to host a day-long hunger strike on August 16 at Idinthakarai and a three-day fast on August 17-19 at Koodankulam. On the first day of the fastauthorities invited us for talks and asked us to postpone our struggle to the first week of September because of the upcoming Hindu and Muslim festivals. In a few days’ time, the chief of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) announced that the first reactor would go critical in September 2011.  See the Times of India coverage.
So we embarked upon an indefinite hunger strike on September 11, 2011 and our women blocked a state road on

Women on hunger strike from May 1 to May 4, 2012
September 13 for a few hours when the state and central governments continued to ignore us. The state Chief Minister invited us for talks on September 21, and passed a cabinet resolution the next day asking the central government to halt all the work until the fears and concerns of the local people were allayed. We ended our hunger strike on the next day but went on another round of hunger strike from October 9 to 16 when the talks with the Indian Prime Minister failed. We laid siege in front of the KKNPP on October 13-16, 2011 when the KKNPP authorities did not halt work despite the Tamil Nadu state cabinet resolution. We ended both the indefinite hunger strike and the siege on October 16 in order for our people to participate in the local body elections. From October 18, 2011, we have been on a relay hunger strike. We have been carrying out massive rallies, village campaigns, public meetings, seminars, conferences, and other demonstrations such as shaving our heads, cooking on the street, and burning the models of the nuclear plants. When the state government of Tamil Nadu arrested some 200 of our comrades on March 19, 2012, fifteen of us embarked on an indefinite hunger strike until March 27. This struggle has been going on for more than 260 days and the morale of the people is still high.  On May 14, a public hearing “Koodankulam and State Suppression of Democratic Rights” was held in Chennai.  The next day relay hunger strikers took over from those who were on an indefinite strike.
There is no foreign country or agency or money involved in this classic people’s struggle to defend our right to life and livelihood. Our fishermen, farmers, workers and women make small voluntary donations in cash and kind to sustain our simple Gandhian struggle. Our needs and expenses are very few. We only provide safe drinking water to the hunger strikers and visitors. People from all over Tamil Nadu (and sometimes from other parts of India) come on their own arranging their own transportation. For our own occasional travel, we hire local taxis.
 Instead of understanding the people’s genuine feelings and fulfilling our demands, the government has foisted serious cases of ‘sedition’ and ‘waging war on the Indian state’ on the leaders of our movement. There are more than 200 criminal cases against us. Police harassment, surveillance by intelligence officers, concocted news reports in the pro-government media, abuse of our family members, hate mail, death threats and even physical attack have become a daily part of our lives.
Although India is a democracy, our central government has been keen on safeguarding the interests of the multinational corporations, and pleasing powerful countries such as the United States, Russia, and France. The welfare of the ‘ordinary citizens’ of India does not figure on their list of priorities. The central government and the ruling Congress party stand by the secretive nuclear agreements they have made with the different countries, and consider us as stumbling blocks on their road to development. The main opposition party, Bharatiya Janata Party (Hindu nationalist party) is equally interested in the nuclear weapons program and making India a superpower and hence loves everything nuclear. It is ironic that these two corrupt and communal forces join hands with each other against their own people. They bend backwards to please their American and other bosses but question our integrity and nationalist credentials.
Our leaders and the group of fifteen women were physically attacked on January 31, 2012 at Tirunelveli by the Congress thugs and Hindutva fascists when we had gone for talks with the central government expert team. Now the government cuts electricity supply often and indiscriminately in order to drive home the message that nuclear power plant is needed for additional power. They try to create resentment and opposition among the public against our anti-nuclear struggle.
To put it in a nutshell, this is a classic David-Goliath fight between the ordinary citizens of India and the powerful Indian government supported by the rich Indian capitalists, multinational corporations, imperial powers, and the global nuclear mafia. They promise foreign direct investment, nuclear power, development, atom bombs, security, and superpower status. We demand risk-free electricity, disease-free life, unpolluted natural resources, sustainable development and harmless future. They say the Russian nuclear power plants are safe and can withstand earthquakes and tsunamis. But we worry about their side-effects and after-effects. They speak for their scientist friends and business partners, and have their eyes on commissions and kickbacks. But we fight for our children and grandchildren, our animals and birds, our land, water, sea, air and the skies.