URGENT ACTIONRElease tamil nadu nuclear plant protestors
Of the 180 people detained in March for protesting against a nuclear power plant project in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu , 148 have been released on bail. While 25 more may be released on bail during the next few days, seven others are likely to remain in jail.
On 27 March, following talks with the Tamil Nadu authorities, 15 protestors belonging to the People’s Movement against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) led by teacher Dr S P Udayakumar called off their eight-day fast. They had been fasting in protest against plans for commissioning a Russian-built nuclear power plant next to the coastal village of Kudankulam. However, protestors at Idinthakarai village began a relay fast on 28 March which is ongoing. The protests were organized because local people felt that the nuclear plant would pose a danger to the health of local communities. The site will affect at least 15,000 people living nearby.
Many of the 180 protestors who were detained in March, including members of PMANE, have been charged with sedition and of "waging war against the state", and if convicted, they could face sentences as high as life imprisonment. Some have been charged with "conspiracy" and "rioting with deadly weapons".
Amnesty International believes the charges against these 180 protestors are false, and constitute a deliberate attempt by the authorities to silence the protests, which have been peaceful.
Dr S P Udayakumar has said that the expert panel established by the Indian authorities has failed to respond satisfactorily to several site and safety concerns raised by an independent group of experts. On 30 March, his home in nearby Nagercoil town was searched by officials belonging to the Ministry of Home Affairs, who examined records relating to funding of a school run by his family. He has told Amnesty International that the police had resorted to harassing shopkeepers who shut up their shops in solidarity with the protestors.
Please write immediately in English or your own language:
Calling on the authorities to release all remaining peaceful protestors immediately, and drop the false charges against them;
Calling on the authorities to put an immediate end to the harassment of those resorting to peaceful protests at Idinthakarai and other coastal villages, and respect the protestors' rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, in accordance with international law.
P LEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 22 MAY 2012 TO :
Prime Minister of India
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
South Block, Raisina Hill
New Delhi 110 00, India
Fax: +91 11 2301 7931
Email: Through website:
Salutation: Dear Prime Minister
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister
Fort St George
Chennai 600 009
Salutation: Dear Chief Minister
Solidarity messages may be sent to:
Dr S P Udayakumar
People’s Movement against Nuclear Energy
Idinthakarai PO 627104
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:
Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation
Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the third update of UA 367/11. Further information: http://amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA20/009/2012/en