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    » 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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    See also

    09/08/2012 INDIA
    Tuticurin bishop calls for a stop to nuclear plant that endangers people
    Mgr Yvon Ambroise criticises the Kudankulam station (Tamil Nadu) for its shortcomings and the government for its indifference. For about a year, 50,000 people are on a rotating fast demanding the plant be shut down. The Church backs them through its prayers. Growth and development are necessary but not at the cost of human lives.

    01/03/2012 INDIA
    Tamil Nadu: two Catholic NGOs blamed in anti-nuclear protest
    The two NGOs involved, the Tuticorin Diocesan Association and the Tuticorin Multipurpose Social Service Society, are headed by Bishop Yvon Ambroise. The government froze their bank accounts, accusing them of using foreign funds to support demonstrations against the construction of the Kudankulam nuclear plant.

    21/03/2012 INDIA
    Tamil Nadu: 200 people arrested, including a priest, in anti-nuclear protest
    People peacefully demonstrate against the Kudankulam plant approved by the government. Jesuit priest says India needs nuclear plant. For him, it is crucial for "maintaining the energy security of India, reducing atmospheric pollution and gaining economic benefits". People must be educated on the matter.

    22/10/2013 INDIA
    Tamil Nadu: controversial Kudankulam nuclear power plant begins operating
    The Indian-Russian plant starts up just as Indian Prime Minister Singh and Russian President Putin meet in Moscow summit. For years, the project suffered delays, especially because of protests by local residents fearful that pollution caused by discharges might contaminate the Bay of Bengal.

    15/03/2012 INDIA
    Tamil Nadu, new Church and fishermen protests against the Koodankulam nuclear plant
    The fishermen also want to unfreeze the bank accounts of the diocesan NGO run by Msgr. Yvon Ambroise, Bishop of Tuticorin. The government stops all funds, accusing them of finance anti-nuclear demonstrations with foreign money. The bishop sends a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to seek to resolve the situation.



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