Tag Archives: Activism

Video: “I Will Fight Back”


Myself . 

By T.V. Antony Raj

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Stop violence against women

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Easy access to the internet in the current decade has allowed women to start online activism and empower themselves. They use social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, etc. The internet allows women freedom to voice their opinions and organize campaigns for equality rights.

On May 29, 2013, three women started an online campaign to take down various misogynistic pages on Facebook that spread hatred toward women. In just one week, the campaigners roused hundreds of thousands of supporters who are part of the “great feminist revival.” The social networking giant Facebook caved into pressure. The campaign succeeded where many previous efforts failed. Facebook took action over contents that celebrated rape and domestic violence.

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I Will Fight Back.
I Will Fight Back.

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The following video titled “Woman Empowerment – I will fight back” by Unseen Passage Pictures is an eye opener. It carries the message that if women do not empower themselves, then nobody will.

While many praise the audacity of the young woman there are a few detractors, as expected, with their sarcastic, derogatory remarks. Some even insinuate that the video is a concocted one implying that the woman is an actor with makeup for bruises for the ‘skit’, and lying.

Whatever it is, the video impressed me.

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Here is a transcription of the young woman’s rendering of the incident.

Hi,

I usually don’t talk like this. It’s because my tooth is broken.

Actually, yesterday I went shopping with a friend to Sarojini Market. I love street shopping, but you know how crowded it is.

We were checking out some dresses in a shop. Suddenly, somebody touched me from behind. I felt very  uncomfortable. I screamed out of fear and everybody around got to know what just happened.

It was very embarrassing. But that guy was simply walking away with his friends, laughing at me. I thought somebody would catch hold of them; somebody would take an action against them. But everyone was staring at me only as if I had done something wrong. Some people were even laughing. But then, an uncle stepped forward and showed some courage and he said:

“Dear, they are mannerless people. Nobody can do anything about it. They are incorrigible. You better take care of yourself and try wearing decent clothes.”

No. No. I didn’t wear a bikini to go shopping. I was just wearing a jeans and a sleeveless shirt. But, I am just another helpless woman, isn’t it? So, obviously everybody had to judge me only like they always do.

Whenever I am alone at the bus stop waiting for the bus or when I come late from the office and my colleague drops me, when I am with a guy, when I ask for help, or when I wear western clothes, and also when they feel like judging, they judge.

But, I am just another helpless woman. So, I said: “Uncle, it’s okay. I will handle.”

I called the woman helpline and told them my current location. Then, I ran behind them, grabbed him by his collar and slapped him hard. They hit me back. Then, people around came to help me and beat them up badly. You should have seen their wounded faces. They all are behind the bars now charged with ‘Women Harassment’.

Then, I understood one thing that in our country, it is very important to take your own stand. If we didn’t empower ourselves, then nobody will.

Take your own stand. Only we are responsible for ourselves.

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Irom Sharmila Refuses to Accept Award Until the Government Repeals AFSPA


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Forty years old activist, writer and poet Irom Sharmila Chanu known as “the Iron Lady of Manipur” has been on a hunger strike for the past 12 years, since November 2, 2000 asking the Indian government to repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958.

On October 9th, at the premises of a local courthouse in Imphal, in the state of Manipur, India, activist Irom Sharmila categorically asserted that until the government abandons the military act, she would accept not accept any award or reward from any individual person or organization.

On Saturday, October 27, at a function organized in Kolkata, the Kerala-based Kovilan Trust decided to confer the first Kovilan Smaraka Activist India National Award in memory of Malayalam poet A.A. Ayyappan upon Ms. Sharmila. However, Irom Sighajit Singh, the elder brother of Sharmila and a trustee of the Just Peace Foundation, a trust set up for her cause, who attended the function, returned the award and asked the organizers to present it to his sister when she achieves her goal.

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Stop Kudankulam fuelling, lives are at stake!


By Dr. A .Gopalakrishnan (a past chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board)

English: Internationally recognized symbol. De...

The government, through its Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), the Nuclear Power Corporation Limited (NPCIL), and the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) is racing to bring the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project, Unit-1 (KNPP-1) to full-power operation at the earliest. The questions predominantly troubling the conscientious public today are simply these: Is the Kudankulam Unit-1 ready for introduction of nuclear fuel assemblies into its core (‘fuelling’), having fully completed all the safety modifications and additions recommended by AERB’s Post-Fukushima Committee to Review Safety of Indian Nuclear Power Plants? What other mandatory, pre-fuelling safety-related tasks such as conducting proper emergency drills in villages within a 30 km-radius of the reactors remain? What are the serious implications to public safety if NPCIL and AERB move forward with fuelling activity and bring this reactor to its full power of 1000 MWe in the current state of inadequate and incomplete safety status?

On some of the glaring defaults of the current actions of the DAE, NPCIL and the AERB vis-à-vis KNPP-1, there are three Special Leave Petitions (SLPs) currently before the Supreme Court of India. The next hearing of one SLP that seriously pleads for stopping fuelling activity is set for September 27. As early as on March 26, 2012 , a writ petition (no. 8262) was filed in the Madras High Court for a direction against the DAE, NPCIL, AERB and others to implement all the recommendations of the AERB’s Post-Fukushima Report before fuel-loading is started. In response, the AERB counsel informed the court , “— that before initial fuel loading is done, the compliance of all the requirements under Annexure-8 (of the AERB report) will be ensured by the AERB and it is only after its satisfaction any direction (for loading fuel) will be given—” . Subsequently , the High Court decided to reserve its orders on August 2, 2012 , pending detailed judgement to follow.

n the interim, since the court had not imposed any stay on actions by NPCIL and AERB, chairman, AERB, used this opportunity to issue a clearance for initial fuel loading of KNPP-1 on August 10 after reviews by their internal committees. The original petitioner then filed yet another writ petition (no. 22253) in the Madras HC on August 13, challenging the fuel-loading clearance given by AERB, even while 11 out of the 17 safety recommendations of the AERB’s Post-Fukushima Report still remained to be implemented. AERB, in reply to this writ petition, submitted two affidavits, first one on August 18 and another on August 22.

he post-Fukushima evaluations by an independent AERB committee, headed by a past chairman of the AERB had recommended 17 safety upgrades in Annexure-8 of its report. The committee, however, did not sort these on the basis of relative importance, urgency or priority. The sense you get from this report is that all 17 corrective steps are equally important and AERB must insist on all of them being fully implemented and tested before fuel-loading is permitted. This is consistent with the affidavit earlier submitted to the Madras HC by Mr R. Suresh Kumar, counsel for AERB, “ — that before initial fuel loading is done, the compliance of all the requirements under Annexure-8 will be ensured by the AERB and it is only after its satisfaction that any direction will be given—–” .

However, in their affidavits to the same court on August 18 and 22, AERB reversed its stand by stating, “—recommendations in Annexure-8 of the Post-Fukushima Report were considered (by the internal AERB committees) during review of the application for fuel loading submitted by NPCIL. The review indicated that KNPP-1 has adequate safety measures against external events — In order to further enhance safety , as an abundant measure , some additional safety enhancements proposed by NPCIL were reviewed in depth and accepted for implementation in a phased manner.”

“Based on the review and resolution of NPCIL submissions, AERB agreed for short-term (less than six months) and long-term ( less than two years) implementation of the Post-Fukushima recommendations from the date of the fuel-loading clearance”.

Ultimately, the Madras HC did not agree with the plea of the protesters for full implementation of Annexure-8 safety steps before fuel loading is initiated and the matter is now being heard by the Supreme Court. Even as the Supreme Court hearings are going on, the NPCIL and the AERB are already loading the nuclear fuel into KNPP-1.

What the AERB has done is a total volte face of its earlier stated positions in the Madras HC, and contrary to the spirit and recommendations of the AERB Post-Fukushima Safety Evaluation Committee.

This has happened because the DAE, NPCIL and AERB appear to be under the direct control of the PMO on the Kudankulam issue, and none of them dares to take any decisions on their own.

The PM, is for months accused in the national and international press for India’s policy paralysis, the dwindling performance of the power sector, and for substantial slippage in the execution schedules of many major projects. During his last two visits to Russia, the PM promised expeditious completion of KNPP-1&2. The local protests at site have put a monkey wrench into his promises and timetable. PM and his PMO consider their face-saving to be more important than the possibility of imperiling the lives of people living near KNPP-1, and appear to have clearly instructed the DAE-AERB combine to rush through with commissioning the plant. The subservient DAE and AERB seem to be complying with his directions.

In this hurried approach to starting the KNPP-1 project, what essential safety precautions are the NPCIL and AERB tossing by the wayside? As per current plans, the reactor will be operated at least for the first two years or more at the full power level of 1000 MWe, without its primary containment being assessed for its ultimate load-bearing capacity; without the availability of a portable diesel-powered unit with sensors and instrumentation to monitor essential safety parameters in case of a total blackout; in the absence of a set of mobile self-powered pumping set for emergency area use; without rectifying the serious inadequacies in instrumentation for independent monitoring of plant status during major accidents; and without the addition of mobile back-up power units like air-cooled diesel sets. Why each of these actions should take as long as 24 months to complete is unimaginable, but these actions have to be indeedexpedited, since they are all essential for mitigating the consequences of a major accident.

The AERB committee has also strongly recommended the urgent installation of an additional seismically-qualified 8,000 cubic-meter capacity back-up water storage tank as an alternate source for use under emergency situations where such actions as injection of borated water into the core and into the spent-fuel pool, charging water into the steam generator secondary side, etc will require excessive amounts of water. The already provided emergency water-storage facility has not been seismically-qualified and may not withstand moderate earthquakes. This anomaly has to be urgently rectified through analysis and repair. This existing storage was also found to be inadequate in holding capacity , for removing decay heat for a period of a minimum one week . This too is to be rectified. In case of a beyond design basis accident (BDBA), the emergency operating procedures to be used are still to be formulated and documented, to help impart training on BDBA to the operating staff.

It is more than 16 months since the Fukushima accident occurred and NPCIL has not even started planning for these procedures. Each of the above tasks is put in for “short-term” completion, namely, within the next six months. I doubt whether a satisfactory completion of many of these tasks can be achieved in six months, each may take more like one year at least.

As it stands, the important point to note is that NPCIL and AERB are NOT going to carry out any of the short or long-term tasks mentioned above, before the reactor is fuelled and brought to 1000 MWe power level. This approach is totally unacceptable from the safety point of view. Whether these 17 safety corrections are implemented or not, the probability of a major accident will remain more or less the same. But, ALL these safety corrections are necessary to ensure that the mitigation of the consequences will be far more acceptable with the corrections implemented than without, and these safety corrections will provide a distinctly safer environment for populations around the KNPP-1. Therefore, ALL the above-mentioned long-term and short-term safety corrections recommended by the AERB committee must be completed before the reactor is fuelled. Whatever fuel so far loaded into the core can be taken out safely and stored for future use.

The author Dr. A. Gopalakrishnan is a past chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).

Reproduced from DNA

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Kudankulam: Antinuclear Fishermen lay siege to Tuticorin port


Written by Sam Daniel, Edited by Mala Das

September 22, 2012

Anti-nuclear protesters lay siege to Tuticorin port
Anti-nuclear protesters lay siege to Tuticorin port

Protests against the Kudankulam nuclear plant continue unabated with thousands of fishermen having laid siege to the port at Tuticorin today, demanding the closure of the controversial plant.

Nearly thousand fishing boats have blocked entry to the Tuticorin harbour, which is situated around 60 miles away from the nuclear power plant. The loading of nuclear fuel, which is on at one of the reactors at the Kudankulam plant, has not in the least dented the determination of the protesters, all fishermen hailing from the districts of Tuticorin, Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli – where the plant is located.

“Fishermen in Kudankulam and surrounding districts are protesting over the last 400 days, but the government is not listening and we will have to resort to these kind of protests,” said a fisherman. These fishermen are worried that the plant, once commissioned, will destroy their livelihood. Subash Fernando, Spokesperson of the Agitation Committee, says, “Once the plant is commissioned, the radiation from it would disqualify our catch for export to the European market, and even if nuclear fuel is loaded, it’s not too late to stop it”.Two expert committees appointed by the government have found the plant to be safe, dubbing public fears unfounded.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who initially supported the cause of the movement, later did a U-turn, citing that the project could bring relief to the state which is reeling under a severe power shortage. Around a lakh and half people, who live in the vicinity, are opposed to the plant. “If India believes in democracy, the government should listen to the people.

If Japan could have a Fukushima disaster, imagine what could happen in India which was also hit by a tsunami not long ago,” said a villager. Presently, the Supreme Court is hearing a petition that challenges the go-ahead given to the nuclear plant. Petitioners cite that the plant is yet to incorporate 11 of the 17 safety recommendations made by a government task force after the Fukushima disaster.

However, the atomic energy department claims these are only enhanced safety features which would be implemented in phases. At Idinthakarai – ground zero for the protests – just three kilometres away from the plant, around four to five thousand villagers are continuing their protest demanding the closure of the plant. Two weeks ago, around 10 thousand people marched towards the plant in a bid to lay siege; police opened tear gas and resorted to lathicharge to disperse the crowd.

A non-bailable warrant has been issued against SP Udhayakumar, the face of the movement, as he failed to honour a court summon. He says “the government is trying to project them as the most wanted terrorists”. The Kudankulam power plant is the first nuclear project to near completion after the Fukushima disaster. Some countries like Germany have decided to turn away from nuclear energy and the international community is keenly watching how India handles the rising opposition to the project..

Reproduced from ndtv.com

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Protests against the Kudankulam nuclear plant continue unabated with hundreds of fishermen having laid siege to the port at Tuticorin today, demanding the closure of the controversial plant.

Around 200 anti-nuclear activists were detained today in Tuticorin, while they were heading to Idinthakarai, the venue of protest against the Kudankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu. The activists were set to join the villagers who have buried themselves neck-deep in sand along the shore, demanding a halt to the preparations for loading of fuel into one of two nuclear reactors at the controversial plant.

Around 1000 villagers near Kudankulam, including women and children, buried themselves neck deep on the sea shore protesting against the upcoming nuclear plant. Over the last one year they have been demanding closure of the plant alleging the project would destroy life and livelihood. Two expert committees have found the plant to be safe. The Supreme Court too has refused to stay nuclear fuel loading.

Hundreds of anti-nuclear protesters forming a human chain stood in sea waters for the second day today demanding halting of preparations for fuel loading into the Kudankulam nuclear reactor in Tamil Nadu.

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Kerala and Tamilnadu Police Block Kerala Intellectuals’ Antinuclear March to Koodankulam


Kerala-Kudankulam march led by Sugathakumari, Sara Joseph and K Ajitha.
Kerala-Kudankulam march led by Sugathakumari, Sara Joseph and K Ajitha. Photo: Deccan Chronicle

On Sunday, September 16, at Inchivila on the Kerala-Tamilnadu border, Kerala police stopped over 200 Kerala antinuclear protesters from proceeding to Kudankulam. The protesters led by prominent writers, environmental and social activists, responded to a call for support from the fisher folk of Kudankulam.

At Parassala, Malayalam poetess Sugatha Kumari inaugurated the March organised by the Kerala Anti-Nuclear Support Group. She said the agitation against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant should not be left to the local villagers living around the nuclear plant. She recalled how the people of Kerala stalled the nuclear plant planned in Peringom, in North Kerala.

Writer Sarah Joseph addresses the Kudankulam Solidarity march at Parassala near Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday. Photo: The Hindu

Writer Sarah Joseph pointed out that opposition to the nuclear power plant was gaining in strength with the former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission coming out against it. Therefore, the Prime Minister’s suggestion that the emotional and mental health of the agitating local villagers ought to be checked had forfeited its validity.

The stopped marchers led by poet Sugathakumari, writer Sarah Joseph, Vicar-General Fr. Eugene Pereira of the Thiruvananthapuram Archdiocese, former diplomat M.K. Bhadrakumar, and social activists K. Ajitha, B.R.P. Bhaskar, C.R. Neelakantan, Vilayodi Venugopal, Gandhian P. Gopinathan, and N. Subramanian, staged a sit-in on the highway.

Even after the police action, 60-odd activists of the Kerala Anti-Nuclear Support Group, which organised the March, proceeded to Kudankulam by bus. However, Tamilnadu police stopped them at Anchugramam. Even so, a small group went to Nagercoil and attempted to reach Kudankulam in a private bus.

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Kudankulam: Jal Satyagraha Against the Nuclear Power Plant


It’s not for pleasure we are in the sea. This nuclear plant is a curse and nobody is going to benefit out of it. Only a disaster can convince our politicians and the government. Then we won’t be alive to tell that story.” — 15-year-old Rishika Raj.

Living on a prayer Anti-nuke protesters hope for divine intervention. Photo: Amritaraj Stephen
Living on a prayer Anti-nuke protesters hope for divine intervention. Photo: Amritaraj Stephen

During the past one year, the villagers living in areas surrounding the Koodankulam atomic power plant launched hunger strikes, tonsured their heads, went to jail, met the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister, and filed cases in various courts with a simple demand — to save their lives, their soil and their water from the killer nuke plant.

However, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Commission (AERC) has given its consent to loading enriched uranium fuel in the first of the two nuclear reactors at the
Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP), and the government has scheduled dates for commissioning the plant.

Peoples Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) released the following statement on Wednesday night:

Today we are surrounded by the police, beaten up, harassed, accused of committing all kinds of crimes, arrested, and above all, mentally, emotionally, spiritually assaulted. We are fisherfolk, shopkeepers, agricultural laborers, beedi-rolling women, working class people. We do not steal public money, we do not amass wealth through illegal business deals, and we do not plunder the nation’s natural wealth. But we are treated like criminals and dangerous to civil society.” (sic)

PMANE also appealed for the support from civil society at large:

Several people including a baby are missing. Around 53 non-violent protesters have been charged with sedition and are languishing in various prisons in Tamil Nadu. Thousands of families are living in fear and despair. If you think we are your brethren, please join us.” (sic)

Taking a cue from the recent ‘jal satyagraha‘ (protesting while standing in water) launched by the farmers in various regions of Madhya Pradesh, the villagers at Idinthakarai decided to launch their own ‘standing waist–deep in the sea’ protest against the impending loading enriched uranium fuel at the atomic power plant.

Koodankulam: Jal Satyagraha on September 13 (Photo: Tehelka)
Kudankulam: Jal Satyagraha on September 13 (Photo: Tehelka)

On Thursday, September 13, at 11 a.m., braving the scorching sun, hundreds of men, women and children from Idinthakarai and the neighbouring villages, assembled outside the church of “Our Lady of Lourdes” in Idinthakarai. Led by Reverend Father M. Jesuraj, they walked down to the coast. They raised slogans against police brutality, the Central government and the Tamilndu State government. They waded into the sea about a kilometer away from the nuclear plant. Hundreds of women and children waded into the sea along with the men. They remained there the whole day.

Father Jesuraj remained in the sea with his people for five long hours. He said, “It is not easy to remain in sea for five long hours under the scorching sun. It is not like standing in a lake or a river. The tide is strong. We are forced to do it as the situation is drifting from bad to worse.” (sic)

Coast guards deployed Dornier aircraft for aerial surveillance while the protesters continued their agitation in the sea. They continued their protest till 4 p.m.

They decided to continue the ‘jal satyagraha‘ until the government shuts down the plant. Pushparayan, a leader of PMANE, told reporters, “Women and men would stand in the sea waters for two hours in turns.”

On Thursday, the Supreme Court refused to enforce stay on loading fuel at the Kudankulam plant. However, the judges agreed to examine the risk associated to the project and added that the safety of the people living in its vicinity concerned them.

Now, more than 4,000 police personnel reinforced by Rapid Action Force, continue to maintain strict vigil after having sealed the entire Kudankulam area.

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Kudankulam: Anti-nuclear Protest Reignites Despite Prohibitory Orders


Antinuclear Protesters at Kudankulam

Officials of the Koodankulam atomic power plant announced that the loading of enriched uranium fuel in the first of the two nuclear reactors would take place around September 11.

On Monday, September 10, police in Tirunelveli District clashed with the antinuclear agitators protesting against the Koodankulam atomic power project. The police asked the protesters to disperse citing the prohibitory orders. However, a great number of people tried to march towards the power plant, and got injured when the police tried to stop them.

Police attack Antinuclear Protesters at Kudankulam
Police attack Antinuclear Protesters at Kudankulam

Ms. J. Jayalalithaa, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu said the police lobbed tear-gas shells to protect themselves, the power plant, and also to prevent harm to the general public if the plant came under attack.

At Manappadu in Tuticorin District, police fired at a crowd of antinuclear agitators killing Anthony John, a 48-year-old fisherman. Ms. Jayalalithaa defended the police action. She said a policeman opened fire in self-defence when a mob tried to burn a temporary police post. Expressing her sympathies, she announced a relief of Rs 5 lakhs to the family of the victim.

Chief Minister Ms. Jayalalithaa belittled the protestors saying it was not proper to agitate since the Madras High Court has approved the nuclear project. She appealed to people not to fall prey to the “designs” of antinuclear lo lobbyists.

Environment watchdog Greenpeace has condemned the Tamil Nadu government for its crackdown and use of force on protestors. A statement issued in New Delhi on Monday by Greenpeace campaigner Karuna Raina says, “The commissioning of a nuclear power plant should not happen without consensus with the stakeholders. In the case of Kudankulam, local villages are the biggest stakeholders. Since the power plant is in their backyard, their consent is required.” The statement further said, “Greenpeace stands in solidarity with the people of Kudankulam and their struggle for justice.

The human rights group, Amnesty International India, also urged the government to exercise restraint. Their Chief Executive G Ananthapadmanabhan in a statement said, “The Indian authorities should exercise restraint and ensure that the police response does not amount to excessive use of force.

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9000 anti nuke protesters assemble at IDINTHAKARAI


Antinuclear logo

The Anti nuke protesters are assembling in large numbers in the protest venue inspite of police intimidation and terror tactics. The tent has already housed 9000 people so far and many people stand outside the protest venue as there is no space inside the pandal.

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kracktivist

Date: Friday, 4 May, 2012, 3:01 PM

Idinthakarai
04.05.2012
We are on the 4th day of the indefinite hunger strike since 1, May, 2012. Nearly 300 women have already joined the fast today with those 25 activists who had already began the fast on the international workers’ day. Women activists are still joining. They are being prevented and intimidated by the police. Their coming is delayed due to police harassment.
Police have blocked the entrance of the villages and threaten the hired vehicle drivers not to transport people to Idindakarai. If they dared, police threaten them to cancel their vehicle licenses. So, the drivers are not willing to come to idinthakarai. Some vehicle drivers who dare to pick up people and are being stopped on their way and asked to go back. The police have deployed vajra and varun vehicles at the entrances of the villages.
Even If…

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