» 09/11/2012, 00.00
Police violence against antinuclear protesters: two dead and a church profaned
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.
- 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.
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
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. "
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 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
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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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.
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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.
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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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