After taking on the Indian nuclear establishment, People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) coordinator SP Udayakumar pitted himself against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, sending him a legal notice on Tuesday following his comments on foreign NGOs funding the anti-Kudankalam stir.
Udayakumar's move is possibly the first instance of a private citizen sending a legal notice to the PM for remarks made in his official capacity. In the notice, Udayakumar's lawyer said his client was deeply hurt by his "false" statements. "My client hopes that you, as the PM of India, will immediately make appropriate amends to the statements made against my client, and will not drive him to have recourse to law," the notice said.
In a recent interview to American magazine `Science', the Prime Minister said that the protests against Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) coming up in Tamil Nadu's Tirunelveli district were funded by NGOs based in the US and Scandinavian countries.
Citing these comments, Udayakumar's lawyer M Radhakrishnan, in the notice, said: "There is no basis whatsoever for this statement made against my client who is the coordinator of the protest."
Claiming the "false statement" was made to harm Udayakumar's reputation, the notice said that "your imputation that the said protest is funded by the United States and the Scandinavian countries is an utter falsehood. This imputation of yours may fall within the realm of defamation."
According to the notice, Udayakumar is deeply hurt by the prime minister's statement that "the atomic energy programme has got into difficulties because the NGOs, often funded from the United States and the Scandinavian countries, don't appreciate the need for our country to increase the energy supply".
The notice said that the statement appears to have been made "with a view to informing the public" that the anti-Kudankulam protests are with the assistance of the foreign funds. It asserted: "There is no basis whatsoever for this statement made against my client who is the coordinator of the protest."
"My client hopes that you, as the Prime Minister of India, will immediately make appropriate amends to the statements made against my client, and will not drive him to have recourse to law," said the notice.