Lokayat condemns lathi charge and arrests of peaceful protestors in Madban, Ratnagiri
January 24, 2010 1 Comment
Lokayat condemns the police lathicharge and subsequent arrest of villagers of Madban and nearby villages today morning, that is, January 22, 2010. The villagers were peacefully protesting the visit of the government officials who had come to distribute cheques to the villagers in order to acquire their lands for setting up what will be the world’s biggest nuclear power plant in Madban, Ratnagiri. In complete violation of all democratic norms, the police and government officials, in a bid to terrorise the villagers and break their spirited resistance to the project, first brutally lathicharged the protesting people, and then arrested them in large numbers. More than 500 people have been arrested so far.
This was the third visit by the government officials to the Madban village to distribute the cheques. During the first visit on December 29, over 1500 villagers had demonstrated and refused to accept the cheques. The second visit was to take place on January 12, 2010. On that day, black flags were put up in Madban and all nearby villages including the taluka headquarters, Rajapur. Black flags were also put on all fishing boats in all the nearby fishing villages. Today, during the third visit, the villagers again organised a peaceful demonstration and refused en masse to accept the cheques. Incensed, the authorities ordered a lathicharge and then arrested the people.
This is yet another example of the Indian government attempting to push for land acquisition for a big project, this time to construct a nuclear power plant, despite the opposition by not just the people whose land is being acquired but by all the nearby villages and towns of the entire taluka. It only indicates that no lessons have been learnt from the fiasco in Singur and Nandigram. The government is desperately pushing to set up this nuclear power plant in Madban, that too one of the biggest in the world, despite the fact that the problems of accidents, disposal of nuclear wastes, and emission of routine radiation from nuclear plants are so enormous that nuclear energy is actually on the decline the world over. No nuclear power plant has been ordered in the United States since 1978, and eventually all plants ordered since 1973 were cancelled. Similarly, just two nuclear plants have been ordered in Western Europe since the last two decades, and even these two plants have run into trouble with nuclear regulatory authorities questioning the safety of these plants. Despite this glaring evidence, the government is bent upon making the people of this country guinea pigs for experimentation for setting up nuclear power plants. With the nuclear industry in the west in doldrums due to a drought of orders, the government of India’s decision to go in for nuclear energy in a big way is providing it a much needed lifeline. It appears that the government of India is more interested in helping the corporations of the USA and European countries rather than safeguarding the interests of the people of the country.