Recording of a report by Sundari from Idinthakarai, the village in Kudankulam where many are on fast unto death and 15000 people have gathered in protest of the Nucelar Plant. Sundari is a long time local activist in the region who has been part of the struggle against the Nuclear plant.
Police have cracked down on the village and there is now a complete blockade. Journalists are not being allowed at all. This is an effort to get news out regularly. This recording has been made possible by the efforts of activists who work with enabling reporting for community radio through mobile phones. These broadcast and others that will follow, will be sent to community radio networks within Tamilnadu and around the country. Please spread the news. A translation is available below.
Sundari reports from Idinthakarai here.
I am calling from Idinthakarai. Can I speak now?
My name is Sundari. I am from Idinthakarai. We have been in a protest against the Nuclear Plant since the past 219 days. Till now, we have not caused any nuisance to the government or the public. We are holding a Peaceful Protest. The Chief Minister told us that she will stand by the people. When Manmohan Singh declared that he will open the nuclear plant, she said that the wishes o the local people is what matters to her. She closed the plant saying it is against the wishes of the people. Now suddenly, in a completely unexpected manner, has brought it the paramilitary and police. We are being tortured as much as the people in Sri Lanka must have been. There is no water. They have stopped the electricity connection to our village. Even milk packets have not been allowed in for the children. They are not allowing any journalists inside. They are not allowing anyone from the nearby villages to come in. No one is being allowed out of the village. All forms of transport have been stopped, including buses. Any people who come to help us are being arrested immediately. They sent the police and told us to ask Udayakumar to surrender. They are forcing us to make him surrender. They are threatening us with harm and say they can do what they want and there is nothing we can do about it. Here we are, women, children, pregnant women- we are all here. Around 15000 of us have gathered here. This is not an individual struggle of Udayakumar. This is a struggle that all of us people here, who live here, are fighting for our soil, our ocean and our livelihood. This struggle is for that. Now why the state pretending like this individual person is has fought this struggle. That is a huge crime. We are all in this struggle together. How can they isolate him like this? We cannot have Udayakumar surrender. We have said, brings vans for all 15000 of us and we will climb into them calmly and peacefully and court arrest. We are ready for that. But they won’t accept that. From Kuthakuli 180 people have been arrested. About 48 among them are women. They have small children that they have left behind. Their cattle are standing unfed. They have taken these women put them in a dungeon and tortured them. This is wrong. What crime have they committed? They have simply performed their democratic right and duty to protest. This is not a struggle that began yesterday. It has been on for seven months. How come we don’t have the right to protest? People who have murdered ten people can roam free in this country. But here, our children don’t have milk. My heart breaks to think of the brutality of the government. We are unable to silence the cries of the hungry children. This is manifold of what has happened to the people in Sri Lanka. The world knows what is happening. What has happened to us should not happen to any people across the world. All we ask for is that you give milk for our children. We are asking that you arrest all 15000 of us. We will not allow for Udayakumar to be arrested alone. We are struggling peacefully. Tell us if we have harmed a single person. This is a fast unto death through peaceful means. Tell us if this is wrong. And all this for the nuclear plant that is so harmful for all of humanity. How is this fair? In a situation where women in labour have not been able to leave. We have kept her at home. What if something happens to that mother or child? Where will we go? All I am asking is- What have we done wrong? Why are we being tortured? We are in the midst of so much torture. They have blocked our village of completely. They have not let any journalists in. Every five minutes the security personnel come and intimidate us with guns and people run helter skelter. And they retreat and come back again. They are intimidating us. It breaks my heart to think that this is a democracy and that the Chief Minister is a woman. Many of us are on fast unto death. Nobody has come to our support. So I plead with you- the plant has not even been opened yet and already we are in this state. How are we going to live on this earth at this rate? I plead to with you to let the world know and this should not happen to anybody else. I plead with you. Thank you.