09/11/2012, 00.00
INDIA

Police violence against antinuclear protesters: two dead and a church profaned

Nirmala Carvalho
The victims are a fisherman of 44 and a 6 year-old girl. The man was killed by a shot fired by the police, the little girl was crushed. A priest denounces the "atrocities" committed by police: attacks on unarmed and non-violent protesters; statues of the Madonna destroyed and desecrated.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Two dead and a church profaned; peaceful demonstrators treated as criminals by the police and then assaulted and insulted, even on a religious basis, in a "brutal and unjustified" attack This is the picture painted for AsiaNews by social activist Fr. X.D. Silvaraj, of the violence that erupted yesterday in Idinthakari, the epicenter of the peaceful protests against the Kudankalam nuclear plant (Tamil Nadu). The first victim is Anthony John, a fisherman of 44 from Tuticurin district. The man died from a shot fired by the police, who opened fire to disperse a group of people. The second is a 6 year old girl, crushed in the ensuing chaos. At the moment her parents have still not been located.

"The people - says Fr. Silvaraj - were unarmed, they did not carry weapons. They were there for a nonviolent protest. Many of them were women and children, but the police attacked them as if they were criminals. Some agents insulted the protesters for their religion [the majority are Catholic, ed.] Others raided the local church: they urinated near the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, then threw it to the ground. They then turned on another small statue of the Madonna , destroying it and urinating on the remains. "

As if that were not enough, some police - says the priest - "threw mud and sand in the food that women were cooking for the protesters. They entered the houses, threatening and terrorizing people, saying they were looking for the leaders of the protest." The people, adds Fr. Silvaraj, "want a judicial inquiry into the atrocities committed by the police."

The police denied any involvement in the incident at the church. According to authorities, foreign NGOs, foment and finance the anti-nuclear protests. Based on these charges in February, the government of Tamil Nadu froze the bank accounts of four NGOs, including Tuticurin Diocesan Association and the Tuticurin Multipurpose Social Service Society, led by Msgr. Yvon Ambroise, Bishop of Tuticurin.

Signed in 1988 but started only in 1997, the Russian designed nuclear plant at Kudankalam has suffered several delays due to delays in the supply of components and obstruction of the people. On 11 September 2011, more than 127 people from the village of Idinthakarai began to fast in protest. After 12 days, they halted the hunger strike after the promises (unfulfilled) of J. Jayalitha, chief minister of the state, which had guaranteed a halt to the project.

 

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