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Report of the Jury on Koodankulam and State Suppression of Democratic Rights

Written By Krishna on Saturday, June 16, 2012 | 8:50 PM

Report of the Jury on the Public Hearing
on
Koodankulam and State Suppression of Democratic Rights


Public Hearing Committee

Justice A.P. Shah,
former Chief Justice of Madras and Delhi High Court
Geeta Ramaseshan,
Advocate, Madras High Court
Prof. Prabha Kalvimani
Irular Tribes Protection Association

Date of Public Hearing: 14 May, 2012
Published: June 2012

Organised by:

Chennai Solidarity Group for Koodankulam Struggle
Email:
antinukesolidarity@gmail.com antinukesolidarity@gmail.comantinukesolidarity@gm
ail.comantinukesolidarity@gmail.comantinukesolidarity@gmail.comantinukesolidarit
y@gmail.comantinukesolidarity@gmail.comantinukesolidarity@gmail.comantinukes
olidarity@gmail.com antinukesolidarity@gmail.com

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
This report is based on the testimonies of persons who participated in the
public hearing on Koodankulam and State Suppression of Democratic Rights,
held on 14 May, 2012 in Lawrence Sundaram Hall, Loyola College, Chennai.
The public hearing was organised by the Chennai Solidarity Group for
Koodankulam Struggle, a coalition of individuals and organisations formed to
lend solidarity to the anti-nuclear struggle in Koodankulam.

FINDINGS OF THE HEARING

The restriction ON FREEDOM of speech
1. People living aro und the nuclear plant have strong reservations
to its presence and have voiced their opposition to it. However ever
since the plant was commissioned, any activities critical of the plant
were countered by strong reaction as if even talking about the subjec t
was seditious and against the State. This resulted in the suppression
of the people's right to freedom of speech.

The restriction on freedom of movement
2. The area around where the plant is situated was under siege
with the imposition of section 144 CrPC at the time of the hearing, and
in March. In both instances, the Government placed complete and
severe restrictions on the freedom of movement of persons living in
and around the area.

The denial of information
3. The protestors are seeking genuine information that would
address their concerns about safety, and there are genuine reasons for
such safety concerns. Instead of addressing their concerns, and
furnishing them information to which they are entitled under the Right
to Information Act, the state police machinery is being used to harass
them.

Registration of criminal cases and arrests

4. THE SYSTEMATIC REGISTRATION OF VARIOUS CASES AGAINST THE
PROTESTORS CHARGING THEM WITH SEDITION, WAGING WAR AGAINST THE
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA, PROMOTING ENMITY BETWEEN DIFFERENT GROUPS,
AND OTHER PROVISIONS OF THE INDIAN PENAL CODE, SEEMS TO SUPPORT
THE ALLEGATION OF TH E PERSONS WHO APPEARED BEFORE THE COMMITTEE
THAT CASES HAVE BEEN FOISTED ON THEM IN VIEW OF THEIR ACTIVE
PARTICIPATION AGAINST THE NUCLEAR PLANT. THE JURY FOUND THAT MANY
ARRESTS WERE MADE VERY ARBITRARILY. THE MECHANICAL AND ARBITRARY
METHOD OF ARRESTS IN DICATE THAT THE ISSUE WAS NOT THAT THE PERSONS
CONCERNED HAD COMMITTED AN OFFENCE BUT WAS MORE TO PREVENT ANY KIND
OF LEGITIMATE PROTEST OR DIFFERENCE OF OPINION AGAINST THE NUCLEAR
POWER PLANT.

Denial of other rights
5. Plans by the police and revenue departments to impound
passports and nullify ration cards of the protestors because they were
wanting to return their voters ID as an act of protest was clearly illegal
and in violation of the protestors' right to food. By preventing effective
transport from reaching the villages and making children walk long
distances, the children's right to education was deeply affected. The
restriction on movement had an impact on the right to health of the
residents in the surrounding villages as they could not get adequate
and timely medical help. There was a severe impact on livelihood and
the right to carry on trade and business as fishermen were unable to go
the sea and small shopkeepers who depended on transport to get their
goods from Tirunelveli were severely hit as they were unable to
purchase goods and eke out their living. There has been culpable
inaction on the part of the police in not proceeding with the
investigation on the complaint given by Mrs. Meera Udayakumar
relating to the attack on her school.

RECOMMENDATIONS
· The right to speech is a constitutionally guaranteed
right and the persons who are opposed to the plant
are well within their right to speak about it. However
by filing cases of sedition, waging war against the
Government of India, and promoting disaffection
between groups of persons, the people are being
unnecessarily harassed by the misuse of criminal law,
and their constitutional rights are being violated. The
jury recommends that all cases against persons under
these provisions be withdrawn as they are only
exercising their legitimate right to protest and there
was nothing to indicate that they were committing
such serious offences.
· An order under Section 144 CrPC can be made only
in an emergency. In rural areas, such imposition for a
large stretch of time can cause tremendous hardship.
In this instance, it has resulted in the denial of
people's right to life and livelihood. It seems to be
pushing people towards despair and penury and does
not augur well for their well being. The jury
recommends that the order be revoked immediately
and positive and pro-active steps be taken by the
Government to bring normalcy in the area.
· Persons who are protesting cannot be branded as
anti- national and unpatriotic, and peaceful protests
cannot be equated to sedition or waging war against
the state. The deliberate targeting of the protestors in
criminal cases must stop and all cases filed under
Waging War against the Government of India,
Sedition, Promoting Enmity etc must be withdrawn
immediately.
· All public transport services must be immediately
restored.
· All persons including Satish Kumar and Mugilan, who
have been arbitrarily arrested for exercising their
right to protest must be released immediately.
· The Government of India must release information on
safety, site evaluation and other such information that
will not compromise strategic interests. In this
connection the order of the Central Information
Commission directing the Government to release
such information should be complied with
immediately.
· The inter governmental liability agreement between
Russia and the Government of India must be made
public in so far as it does not violate strategic
interests.
· The talks with PMANE should be resumed and, a fair
committee acceptable to villagers should be set up to
address the concerns raised by the villagers.
· The right to gather, assemble and protest are all part
of the fundamental right to speech and the right of the
protestors to protest and dissent should be respected.
· Action must be taken against miscreants who
attacked the school run by Meera Udayakumar and
her complaint investigated.
· The media must be more responsible and play a role
in giving alternate viewpoints. They should not create
a fear psychosis among protestors or brand persons
as Maoists simply because they do not support the
functioning of the plant. The media must question the
credibility of such cases filed against the protestors.
· The Government of India and the State Government
must initiate dialogue, come to middle ground, stop
persecution of persons and resolve the issue
mutually.

Report of the Jury on Public Hearing on Koodankulam and

State Suppression of Democratic Rights

INTRODUCTION
This report is based on the testimonies of persons who participated in the
public hearing on Koodankulam and State Suppression of Democratic Rights,
held on 14 May, 2012 in Lawrence Sundaram Hall, Loyola College, Chennai.
The public hearing was organised by the Chennai Solidarity Group for
Koodankulam Struggle, a coalition of individuals and organisations formed to
lend solidarity to the anti-nuclear struggle in Koodankulam.

The participants of the public hearing were drawn from all walks of life. There
were farmers, fis hermen, homemakers, students, shop keepers, teachers,
lawyers, professors, journalists and retired professionals to name a few who
testified before the jury about critical concerns of the plant and the
harassment they faced in the form of arrests and threats by state machinery
when they chose to oppose the Nuclear Plant set up at Koodankulam.
Representatives of People’s Movement against Nuclear Energy (PMANE),
People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), Human Rights Protection Centre-
Tamil Nadu and Amnesty International were other participants in the hearing.
The jury also heard the statement of Mr S.P. Udayakumar and Mr V.
Pushparayan over skype.

The jury also relied upon various materials that were placed before it such as
the FIRs, a report by PUCL, submissions from the Human Rights Protection
Centre, Amnesty International, confidential testimonies received from media
persons, and email testimonies sent to the jury subsequent to the public
hearing.

The objectives of the public hearing were:
• To know what people living in the area around
Koodankulam were enduring as a result of their
opposition to the nuclear power plant;
• To understand the use or abuse of criminal law and
the nature of criminal cases filed against
protestors;
• To get a sense of the information needs of people
and the alleged aura of secrecy surrounding
concerns raised by people living in and around
Koodankulam
• To make recommendations that will allow for a
resumption of dialogue between Government and
people, and peaceful resolution of the deadlock.

BACKGROUND
Since July 2011, residents of Koodankulam, Idinthakarai, Kootapuli,
Perumanal and surrounding villages in Tirunelveli District of South Tamil Nadu
have been protesting against the commissioning of the Koodankulam Nuclear
Power Plant being set up by the Government of India. The protests have been
totally non-violent and peaceful invoking Gandhian methods of agitation such
as hunger strikes, dharnas and Satyagrahas. Critical questions have been
posed by the protestors about the relevance, safety and the necessity of
nuclear power generation thereby bringing a debate on the need to revisit the
national nuclear policy. Additionally they have also raised concerns on the site
suitability, safety, adequacy of water and environmental hazards that may
arise and have sought information in this regard.

News reports indicate that the Government of Tamil Nadu initially expressed
its support to the agitation, and even issued a cabinet resolution urging the
Central Government to suspend work on the plant until the people's fears
were allayed. However, the state government allowed the commencement of
work at the plant on 19 March, 2012, a day after the Sankaran Koil byelection.
Since then, huge police forces have been deployed in the areas
around Koodankulam. The protestors were harassed in various forms.

TESTIMONIES
The following is a summary of the issues raised by the speakers. The hearing
started with a testimony of S.P. Udayakumar via skype.

Mr Udayakumar told the jury that the Koodangulam project was imposed by
the Government without conducting any public hearing or listening to the
views of the persons living in the area nor was there any EIA except for an
arbitrary one that was made up for Reactor Numbers 3, 4, 5, 6. Despite
demands for the site evaluation report that was made for the past 23 years,
the report of the same was not made public. According to him, the Nuclear
Power Corportion of India Limited, ( NPCIL) refuses to give any information
by invoking security and confidentiality concerns even though independent
experts had identified a number of problems with the due diligence
undertaken and expressed various concerns relating to the plant. He told the
hearing that the NPCIL could give information that were non-strategic and
irrelevant to national security issues. The copy of the inter governmental
liability agreement between India and Russia was not in the public realm and
there was nothing to clarify issues of liability. He sought the document to be
made public. Mr Udayakumar also raised many other technical concerns
about the plant.

He told the hearing that the Government had not prepared the people for any
evacuation nor have they conducted mock drill exercises for preparation. He
sought an end to the repression and police atrocities perpetuated on peaceful
protestors.

Mr Udayakumar sought the following:
• copy of site evaluation report and safety analysis
report;
• fresh EIA (as opposed to the 23 year old one)
• Forming an independent national committee of
experts on hydro -geological, seismic and marine
issues to look into technical issues.
• Revoking false cases, including cases of sedition
and waging war against the state.
• Assurance that no water will be drawn from
Kanyakumari dams or River Tamiraparani.
• Publishing of nuclear waste disposal proposal

This was followed by the testimony of Mr V. Pushparayan via skype. Mr.
Pushparayan, who in addition to raising the issues raised by Mr Udayakumar,
told the hearing that both the Central and State Governments were not ready
to listen to their grievances and that there has been no interaction between
the members of the struggle committee and scientists and the Government.
People living in Idinthakarai and other villages nearby were literally in a siege
and were unable to leave for any work ever since Section 144 of the Code of
Criminal Procedure was imposed in and around the areas. All forms of
mobility including, movement of basic amenities such as milk, groceries, were
affected as vehicular movement was severely curtailed by the state
machinery, especially in the days following March 19. This affected free
movement of goods and services. Even now, people coming to the area were
being harassed and questioned.

Persons who were seeking to work abroad were unable to apply for
passports. Those that had already applied were not receiving their passports.
In the meantime, to counter a campaign call by PMANE inviting people to
return their electoral IDs to the Government as a protest, an article in a
prominent English daily quoted unnamed police and revenue officials to
convey a threat to protestors that their passports would be impounded and
their ration facilities suspended.

The speakers highlighted the following:
1. No safety measures were in place and the people around the
area were not trained for any kind of emergency. Some of them were
extremely apprehensive that there could be a repeat of the Bhopal
catastrophe.
2. The area is densely populated with nearly 70,000 people living
within a radius of 5 kms of the plant. The secrecy around the plant was
causing a great fear. The liability clause contained in the Indo-Russian
agreement was not made public. So there was nothing to indicate what
would be the liability in the event of a mishap. People fear immensely
of radiation in a 30km radius.
3. Instead of addressing their fears the Government was using
force to harass them and filing criminal cases against them under
serious offences such as sedition, waging war against the state and
causing disaffection between members of the community and arresting
them.
4. There are regular shows of force and flag marches with
thousands of armed police and commandos deployed to contain and
deter a non-violent struggle by unarmed people.
5. Barring a few, leaders of political parties are non committal when
these issues are raised before them.
6. The impacts of the siege were still being felt by the villagers as
the Government was still preventing access to services in many ways.
Buses were not plying to the villages as before and due to the lack of
transport that was otherwise available, students had to walk as much
as nineteen kilometres to reach their schools or colleges and some
were unable to write their exams. Teachers, from the protesting
villages, who had invigilation duties during the exams, were also not
spared. Police were threatening th em even during their exams.
7. Fishermen, shopkeepers, vendors and others who wished to go
to work were unable to carry on their work due to the imposition of
section 144.
8. Notwithstanding the loss of livelihood, the lack of transport was
affecting them very severely as they had to spend Rs. 200 for
transport by auto while taking a bus would have cost a mere Rs. 5.
9. The police were constantly doing marches in the night and were
threatening to arrest anyone who entered the village and also
threatening them with detention under the Goondas Act.
10. The police were trying to instigate religious and communal
dissent between different communities.
11. Women who were arrested for protesting against the plant told
the jury that they were unaware of the charges while signatures were
obtained on blank papers during their arrest. They were denied food
and water and were all taken to the prison in Tiruchirapalli which is 260
km from Tirunelveli town. They were also subjected to all kinds of
insults and humiliations.
12. No meeting relating to any issue critical of nuclear power is
permitted in the entire district.
13. Meera Udayakumar, the principal of SACCER Matriculation
School and wife of PMANE leader S.P. Udayakumar, spoke about how
she was threatened many times, asked to leave the country and close
the school. Subsequently, her school was attacked by miscreants and
valuable materials belonging to the school were destroyed. Book
shelves were broken, books were torn, her personal laptop stolen, the
music s ystem broken to pieces and furniture destroyed. She also
narrated her experiences with the police and their deliberate inaction in
not responding to her requests for police protection and for suitable
action against those whom she suspected of causing the violence.
14. Some people spoke about the damaging role played by certain
journalists who were being used by the Police to spread rumours within
the community, and to convey police threats through their publications.
Such mischief, they said, vitiated the environment and made it difficult
for the Government and protestors to dialogue meaningfully.
15. There were references to the illegal tactics used by the state
Government to crush the dissent. Most recently, unnamed police and
revenue officials were quoted in a prominent English daily threatening
to impound the passports and ration facilities for those who wanted to
return their electoral ID cards as a form of protest.
16. There was a common demand for relief from the curfew and a
return to a life of peace. There was also a demand for dropping of all
cases and the release of two activists, Satish Kumar and Mugilan who
are still in jail.
17. Mr. Prashant Bhushan, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court and
Mr. Sam Rajappa, a distinguished journalist and director of The
Statesman School of Print Journalism, Kolkata, also spoke about the
large number of cases of sedition that were being filed against the
people and the lack of knowledge-sharing about the plant and the
secrecy surrounding it.

FINDINGS
The restriction ON FREEDOM of speech
People living around the nuclear plant have strong reservations to its
presence and have voiced their opposition to it. However ever since the plant
was commissioned, any activities critical of the plant were countered with
strong reaction as if talks on it were seditious and against the State. This
resulted in the suppression of the people's right to freedom of speech. For
example, Neeraj Jain, an anti -Nuclear activist from Pune, was invited by a
faculty member of Manonmaniam Sundaranar University for a talk. The police
reportedly spoke to the faculty member and tried to dissuade him from hosting
the talk, asked for a copy of the presentation that was to be made and
questioned the organiser as to how they could have a discussion on such a
topic.

The jury also heard from the testimonies that immediately after the March 19
decision of the Tamil Nadu Government, the police made public
announcements in Tirunelveli town that anyone who spoke against the
Koodankulam Power project would be deemed anti national and would be
arrested. Till date, no permissions are given in the entire district to hold
meetings or demonstrations on the issue. Owners of all halls, auditoria, hotels
and other places where such meetings are normally held in the entire district
were clearly told that they cannot permit any such meeting critiquing the
nuclear plant. They have been threatened that if they did so, they would face
criminal charges.

The restriction on freedom of movement
The jury found from the testimonies and fact finding reports presented to it
that the area around where the plant is situated is under siege with the
imposition of sec tion 144 CrPC. On 19 March, a 5 KM radius of the entire
Radhapuram taluka was cordoned off while on the date of the hearing the
area that was cordoned around the plant was 7 KM. The jury found that by
preventing the villagers from moving freely to carry o n their activities, by not
providing them with public transport, the Government was placing complete
restrictions on their freedom of movement. It was brought to the notice of the
jury that children had to trudge many kilometres to school and vegetables and
other food provisions were in short supply or extremely expensive due to the
lack of transport.

The denial of information
The jury found that the protestors were seeking genuine information that
would address their concerns about safety, and that there are valid reasons
for such safety concerns. One participant told the hearing that recently there
was a fire accident in a nearby village and enough water could not be
summoned. When there are such lapses in dealing with a simple fire, he
questioned the Government's preparedness to deal with a nuclear accident.
The Protestors wanted copies of the site evaluation report, the safety analysis
report, a fresh EIA, and wanted to be equipped with training so that they could
face an eventuality if and before the plant is commissioned. Some
participants also wanted an independent national committee of experts to look
into the hydrogeological, siting and marine issues. Instead of addressing their
concerns, and furnishing them information to which they could be entitled
under the Right to Information Act, the state police machinery was being used
against them to harass them. What was being sought was the right to
information guaranteed constitutionally under Article 21 and statutorily under
the Right to Information Act.

The impact on the right to food
An article in The Hindu news paper indicated that there were plans by the
police and revenue department to impound passports and nullify ration cards
of the protestors because they wanted to return their voters ID as an act of
protest. At a time when the Hon'ble Supreme Court is closely monitoring
people's Right to Food, threatening to withdraw PDS facilities as a
punishment for protesting is denying them their right to food and would be
clearly illegal.

The impact on the right to education
By preventing effective transport from reaching the villages and making
children walk long distances, especially when the children were writing their
annual examination, the jury found that the children's right to education was
deeply affected.

The impact on the right to health
The jury found that the restriction on movement had an impact on the right to
health of the residents in the surrounding villages as they could not get
adequate and timely medical help. In their testimonies, women highlighted
how pregnant women could not get to the hospitals on time as even autos and
private mode of vehicles were either charging heavily or were not willing to
come.

The impact on the right to livelihood and the right to carry on trade and
profession
Persons who appeared in the hearing indicated how their livelihood was
completely affected. There were days on which fishermen were unable to go
the sea and small shopkeepers who depended on transport to get their goods
from Tirunelveli were severely hit as they were unable to purchase goods and
eke out their living. Some persons also testified that they also had to sell the
jewels of their wives to deal with the situation of long-drawn out protests and
disruption of normal life.

The registration of cases
According to the Human Right Protection Centre (HRPC-TN) which are a
group of lawyers who are providing legal aid to the affected people, until 20
April, 2012 there were 287 cases registered against various persons in two
police stations, namely the Koodankulam Police Station and the Pazhavur
Police Station.

The various offences under which the cases are registered are as follows:;
121 IPC- Waging or attempting to wage war, or abetting waging of war
against the Government of India, an offence that is punishable with death or
imprisonment with life. (4 cases)
124 A Sedition (4 cases)
125 Waging war against any Asiatic Power in alliance with the Government of
India (3 cases)
143 Punishment for unlawful assembly.
147 Punishment for rioting
148 Rioting armed with deadly weapon.
153(a) (2) Promoting enmity between different groups in a place of worship
186 Obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions.
188 Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant
323 Punishment for Causing hurt
341 Punishment for wrongful restraint
343 Wrongful confinement for three days
353 Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharging his
duties.
379 Theft
427 Mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees
447 Punishment for criminal trespass
452 House trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint
505 Statements made conducing to public mischief
506 Criminal intimidation
Other statutes under which cases were filed include the Tamil Nadu Property
(Prevention of Damage and Loss) Act 1992 (PPDL Act) and the Criminal Law
Amendment Act.

WAGING WAR AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
Persons involved in opposing the nuclear plant have been charged with
various categories of offences some of which are serious such as “Waging
war” against the Government of India and sedition. To give an example, FIR
in Crime No. 315/11 dated 15.10.11 in Kooudankulam P.S is registered
against S.P Udayakumar and 16 others under sections 109,121,124(A), 125,
153 (A), 343, 353, 505 (i)(b), 506(3) IPC and section 3 of the PPDL Act along
with 7(i) (a) of the Criminal Law Amendment Act read with 120 B IPC.
The FIR given by the Village Administrative Officer, Koodangulam, narrates
how the persons charged have jointly conspired for the past two months and ”
“have been conducting various protests.” Further, it says, “On behalf of the
District Administration, the protestors were informed that police restriction was
in force in the area and therefore gathering there without permission is illegal
and they were asked to cooperate to regulate traffic by removing the
roadblocks. But the protestors without bothering about this spoke in a
manner of spoiling the good relationship between India and Russia by
stating that they will close the nuclear plant formed by the Russian men
or will remove it!” The last sentence quoted above is to bring it within the
purview of Section 125 IPC, namely “Waging war against any Asiatic Power in
alliance with the Government of India.” One is at a loss to understand how
making such a statement will affect the friendly relationship between the two
countries. One is also at a loss to understand how this provision can be
invoked as Russia is not an Asian power. All this clearly indicate how the
penal provisions may never stand up to scrutiny in a court of law but have
been used to threaten and frighten people.

This particular FIR nowhere makes out a case that the persons accused were
waging war against the Government of India but only indicates that they were
protesting. Nevertheless Section 121 has been included.

The submission made by PUCL before the jury also indicated of 8 FIRs they
studied where Section 121 was invoked, there is no ingredient suggesting
either directly or remotely that the persons named as accused either
attempted to wage war or abetted war against the Government of India.

Sedition
Two cases ( Crime No 372/11 and 373/11 in Koodungalam P.S) registered
on the same day cover 3450 unnamed “other accused” under section 124 A.
In order to attract the provisions of section 124 A, there must be specific
words either spoken or written or there must be visible representations made
by the person charged. By putting unnamed persons as “other accused,”
clearly the police want to add names as and when they decide. According to
the PUCL report, the alleged acts of threatening the sovereignty of India are
mechanically included just so that an offence is made out in the specific
incidents referred to. Similarly, while it is alleged that the protestors spoke
about the plant, nothing is stated about how it caused disaffection.

Promoting enmity between different groups
Crime No. 277/11 indicates that the persons accused of the offence showed a
film on the impact of the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl thereby causing fear
among the people. In Cr 278/11, the VAO states that he “heard about a sms
sent from a cell phone that informed people that a spoon of uranium caused
cancer to over 900 crore people and that there were many tonnes of uranium
in the plant and that the sms should be circulated widely.” The complainant
however had not received the sms but had only heard about it. Thus on the
basis of heresay the case was registered.

The plant has contract workers from North India. Some FIRs purported to
have been made on their submissions claim that the agitators called them
“north Indian Dogs” and “vacate immediately or I will kill you”. But these are
written in English with no details of the local addresses of the complainants
and are identical in content thereby indicating that they could have been
concocted.

The criminal cases seem to have been registered in a mechanical and
arbitrary manner. Persons who were leading the struggle against the nuclear
plant were implicated in various cases on identical offences described above.
Against S.P. Udayakumar there were 8 cases, against Sivasubramaniam 9,
against A.S Ravi 7, against Father Jesurajan 6 and against Sahaya Inita 5.
This systemic registration seems to support the allegation of the persons who
appeared before the committee that cases have been foisted on them in view
of their active participation against the nuclear plant.

Arrests and Treatment by police
The jury was informed about various arrests and in particular about the arrest
of two young men Mugilan and Satish Kumar who were active in the protests
against the plant. One deponent who was presenting Satish's case reported
that he had been blindfolded and beaten up in police custody. During the
hearing of their bail petitions before the trial court it was argued that they were
naxalites. The Madras High Court (Madurai Bench) granted them bail but the
police added their names to other crime numbers. They have moved the High
Court again but apprehend that once a gain more cases will be foisted against
them.

The jury found that many arrests were made very arbitrarily. Jayaseelan and
Sujiba, a couple, have two differently abled children who have disability. Both
of them were arrested even though they pleaded with the police that at least
one of them may be permitted to go as they had the children to take care.
There are many instances of both parents being arrested or a parent and an
adult child from the same family being detained. A mentally challenged
person was arrested despite documentary proof that he was mentally ill.

Elderly persons above seventy years, physically challenged persons, persons
who were having health issues such as heart conditions were all arrested
without any discretion used regarding their situations or situations. The arrests
were so mechanical that the jury found that one person who was not even in
India during the protests was shown as an accused. The mechanical and
arbitrary method of arrests indicate that the issue was not that the persons
concerned had committed an offence but was more to prevent any kind of
legitimate protest or difference of opinion against the nuclear power plant.

The principle “bail is the rule and jail is the exception” was not followed by the
police nor did they follow the principles of DK Basu’s case in arrest and
detention. On the contrary the purpose seemed to be to cause maximum
hardship as the women were taken to Tiruchi prison. Conditions that were
imposed on bail required many of them to sign everyday causing them a lot of
hardship as the whole day was spent in going to the police station. All the
participants spoke about how abusive the police were towards them.

Two testimonies were received over email after the public hearing. One was
from Mr. Rajalingam, a local villager opposed to the Koodankulam plant. He
reported that on 11.5.2012, he was accosted by the police in the East Bazaar
Street of Koodankulam town, abused and beaten up in public and dragged
into a police jeep and taken away. The second email was sent by a bystander,
Mr. Selvakumar, who witnessed the entire incident.

Culpable inaction
The SACCER Matriculation School run by Meera Udayakumar was totally
vandalised by anti social elements on March 1-2 and again on March 19-20 of
2012. When a complaint was lodged by her after the first attack naming some
persons whom she suspected of having done the acts, the police wanted
details about the registration of the school. When she met the DSP
Kanyakumari, he told her to withdraw the names of the suspects. She
refused. While some sort of police protection was given to her school after
the first attack, the security was removed days before the second attack. She
also received threatening letters.

The Jury found that the attack on her school took place the next day after the
Chief Minister declared to give her go- ahead to the plant. As her husband
S.P Udayakumar was the correspondent of the school and was one of the
agitation leaders, the attack seems to have been done deliberately to not only
to harm the family but also to browbeat the protestors into giving up
opposition to the project.

While her FIR was registered, there has been no action on the same and no
one has been questioned or arrested till the date of the public hearing. There
has been culpable inaction on the part of the police in not proceeding with the
investigation.

Role of the media
The jury found that a section of the media had started a vicious campaign
against the movement and in particular against S.P Udayakumar. His phone
numbers were printed in a news paper and reports were published that sought
to attack his reputation to bring discredit to him and to the campaign against
the plant. A section of the electronic media constantly branded three young
men having different political affiliations but with a common cause against the
nuclear plant as “Maoists” with news bulletins claiming that they had taken
over the anti- plant struggle and as in Nandigram, they had “infiltrated the
region” and the entire struggle is now under their influenc e. The views of the
protestors and the objections raised by them were not even considered. This
clearly indicated that a section of the media that was on the side of the
Government had lost their sense of objectivity. In a confidential submission
made to the jury, one media professional spoke of direct interference by the
Intelligence Bureau leading to self -censorship in his agency.

RECOMMENDATIONS
· The right to speech is a constitutionally guaranteed right and the
persons who are opposed to the plant are well within their right
to speak about it. However by filing cases on sedition, waging
war against the Government of India, promoting disaffection
between groups of persons, etc the people were unnecessarily
harassed by the misuse of criminal law, and their constitutional
rights have also been violated. The jury recommends that all
cases against persons under these provisions be withdrawn as
they were only exercising their legitimate right to protest and
there was nothing to indicate that they were committing such
serious offences.
· An order under Section 144 CrPC can be made only in an
emergency. In rural areas such imposition for a large stretch of
time can cause tremendous hardship. In this instance, it has
resulted in denying people their right to life and livelihood. It
seems to be pushing people towards despair and penury and
does not augur well for their well being. The jury recommends
that the order be revoked immediately and positive and pro
active steps be taken by the Government to bring normalcy in
the area.
· Persons who are protesting cannot be branded as anti- national
and unpatriotic and peaceful protests cannot be equated to
sedition or waging war against the state. The deliberate
targeting of the protestors in criminal cases must stop and all
cases filed under Waging War against the Government of India,
Sedition, Promoting Enmity etc must be withdrawn immediately.
· All public transport systems must be immediately restored.
· All persons including Satish Kumar and Mugilan, who have been
arbitrarily arrested for exercising their right to protest, must be
released immediately.
· The Government of India must release information on safety,
site evaluation and other such information that will not
compromise strategic interests. In this connection the order of
the Central Information Commission directing the Government
to release such information should be complied with
immediately.
· The inter governmental liability agreement between Russia and
the Government of India must be made public in so far as it
does not violate strategic interests.
· The talks with PMANE should be resumed and, a fair committee
acceptable to villagers should be set up to address the technical
concerns raised by them.
· The right to gather, assemble and protest are all part of the
fundamental right to speech and the right of the protestors to
protest and dissent should be respected.
· Action must be taken against miscreants who attacked the
school run by Meera Udayakumar and her complaint
investigated
· The media must be more responsible and play a role in giving
alternate viewpoints. They should not create a fear psychosis or
brand persons as Maoists simply because they do not support
the functioning of the plant. The media must question the
credibility of such cases filed against the protestors.
· The Government of India and the State Government must initiate
dialogue, come to middle ground, stop persecution of persons
and resolve the issue mutually.

ANNEXURE 1
Koodankulam P.S
Valliyoor J.M.

Sl.No. Crime No. Sections
1. 340/11 U/S 143, 188, r/w 34 IPC
2. 341/11
3. 342/11
4. 344/11
5. 345/11
6. 350/11
7. 365/11
366/11
370/11
371/11
374/11
375/11
377/11
379/11
380/11
382/11
384/11
386/11
388/11
389/11
390/11
392/11
393/11
394/11
395/11
396/11
397/11
398/11
399/11 U/s 341, 143, 188, 353, r/w 34 IPC
400/11 U/s 143, 188 r/w 34 IPC
401/11
402/11
405/11
407/11
416/11
417/11
418/11 U/s 143, 188, 149, 291 IPC
419/11
420/11
1/12 143, 188, 149, 157, 291 IPC
2/12
3/12 143, 188, 149, 291 IPC
4/12 3 of TNPPDL Act
6/12 U/s 143, 188, 149, 157 291 IPC
8/12
9/12
10/12
13/12
14/12
16/12
17/12 U/S 153 (A), 295 (3), 505 (2) IPC
18/12 143,149, 157, 188, 291 IPC
19/12
20/12
21/12
23/12
24/12
25/12
27/12
28/12
29/12
30/12
31/12
33/12
34/12
35/12
36/12
37/12
38/12
39/12
41/12 143, 188, 157, 291, r/w 149 IPC
42/12
43/12
44/12
45/12 U/S 143, 188, 153, 353, 291, 500 r/w 149 IPC
46/12 U/s 143, 188, 157, 291, r/w 149 IPC
47/12
48/12
49/12
51/12
53/12
54/12
56/12
57/12
58/12 U/S. 143, 188, 120 (b), 157, 291 r/w 149 IPC
59/12 U/S 143, 188, 341, 157, 291, r/w 149 IPC
21
60/12 U/s 143, 188, 120 (b), 157, 291 r/w 149 IPC
62/12
63/12 U/s 143, 188, 157, 291, r/w 149 IPC
64/12
66/12
68/12
69/12
71/12
72/12
73/12
75/12
77/12
78/12
70/12 U/s 121, 143, 188, 153 (A), 341, 342, 500, 506 (i) 7 (i) (a) CLA.
Act
83/12 U/s 143, 188, 153, 291 r/w 149 IPC
87/12
90/12
96/12
100/12
102/12
103/12
104/12
110/12 U/s 143, 188, 157, 291, 149 r/w 283 IPC
111/12 U/s 143, 188, 157, 291 r/w 149 IPC
107/12
117/12
115/12
119/12
120/12
121/12
123/12
126/12
127/12
138/12
139/12
140/12
129/12
130/12
131/12
132/12
133/12
134/12 U/s 143, 188, 157, 291 r/w 149 IPC
137/12
141/12
142/12
135/12 U/S. 143, 147, 148, 151, 121 (A) 188, 431 IPC and 3 of TNPPDL
136/12
143/12 U/s 143, 188, 157, 291 r/w 149 IPC
145/12
146/12
147/12
151/12 U/s 143, 188, 157, 291, 187, 353 r/w 149 IPC
152/12 U/s 143, 188, 157, 291, r/w 149 IPC
153/12
155/12
156/12
159/12
160/12
157/12 U/s 143, 188, 157, 291, 120 (b) r/w 149 IPC
158/12 U/s 143, 188, 151, 152 (A) 500 IPC r/w 120 (b) IPC
161/12 U/s 143, 188, 157, 291 IPC
164/12 U/s 147, 148, 341, 294 (b) 307, 323, 324, 506 (ii) IPC 3 of
TNPPDL Act r/w 149 IPC
165/12 U/s 147, 148, 341, 294 (b) 307, 323, 324, 506 (ii) 379 IPC
172/12 Accidental fire

ANNEXURE 2

List of people who deposed.
· S.P. Udayakumar – Via Skype (Internet)
· V. Pushparayan – Via Skype (Internet)
· Sam Rajappa, Senior Journalist
· Joseph
· Josephyn Jaya , fishing community, Koottappulli
· Isakkimuthu , s/o Subramanya Nadar , farmer
· Jeromias, Uthankudi, driver
· Joyness, college student
· Nishanth, Uthangudi
· Pushparaj, Idinthakarai
· Satyamoorthy, Koodankulam, Construction worker
· Maria Therese – Koothakuli
· Everest, Idinthakarai, Vijayapathi panchayat member
· T.S.S. Mani, P.U.C.L -- TN-Pondy
· Vanniyarasu – Viduthalai Chiruthaikal – spokesperson
· Poongodi- Deposition about Mukilan
· Revathi – Deposition about Sathish Kumar
· Samuel Asirraj, Associate Proffessor, Manonmaniam Sundaranar University
· Adv. Ramesh, Tirunelveli , CPI ML
· Ramesh Gopalkrishnan, Amnesty International, Researcher
· Prashant Bhushan, Senior Advocate
· Meera Udayakumar, School Principal, Idinthakarai

Written Deposition:
1. Media deposition undisclosed. Submitted to the Panel
2. Human Rights Protection Centre – deposition submitted to the panel
3. Affidavits from Sathish Kumar and Mugilan

Reports
“ THE SUPPRESSION OF DEMOCRATIC DISSENT IN ANTI -NUCLEAR PROTESTS BY THE GOVERNMENT OF TAMIL NADU.” FACT-FINDING
REPORT OF SAM RAJAPPA,DR GLADSTON XAVIER,MAHADEVAN, RAJAN, ADVOCATE PORKODI, APRIL 12.
“(AB)USING CRIMINAL LAW TO SUPPRESS PEACEFUL PROTESTS.” PEOPLE’S UNION OF CIVIL LIBERTIES, TAMIL NADU AND PUDUCHERRY,MAY 12
“THE FOISTED CASES AND ARRESTS IMPOSED BY THE STATE AGAINST THE KOODANKULAM PROTESTORS.”BOOKLET BY THE HUMAN
RIGHTS PROTECTION CENTRE (HRPC-TN)

OTHER DOCUMENTS
REPRESENTATION OF MRS MEERA UDAYAKUMAR, GIVEN TO THE CHIEF MINISTER
AFFIDAVIT OF SATHISH KUMAR
AFFIDAVIT OF R SHANMUGHAM
EMAIL AFFIDAVITS BY S. RAJALINGAM AND SELVAKUMAR
LETTER TO THE CHAIRMAN, PRESS COUNCIL OF INDIA, FROM V GEETHA, LAKSHMI PREMKUMAR AND 17 OTHERS ALONG WITH ANNEXURE OF NEWS REPORTS FROM DINAMALAR, THE HINDU ABOUT THE MEDIA COVERAGE OF THE ISSUE NEWS REPORT TITLED “POLICE PREPARING LIST OF PASSPORT HOLDERS.” THE HINDU. 11MAY, 2012
REPRESENTATION OF PUCL TO THE CHIEF SECRETARY AND FIVE OTHERS,MARCH 21, 2012.

FIRS PERUSED BY THE JURY
CR. NO. 246/11 CR. NO. 277/11 CR. NO. 278/11
CR. NO. 297/11 CR. NO. 335/11 CR. NO. 338/11
CR. NO. 353/11 CR. NO. 369/11 CR. NO. 372/11
CR. NO. 373/11 CR. NO. 387/11 CR. NO. 391/11
CR. NO. 71/12 CR. NO. 97/12 CR. NO. 134/12
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