The State should engage directly and democratically with protesters
We are appalled at the police repression unleashed against people protesting peacefully against the Kudankulam nuclear plant. The repression has forced them to take to a jal satyagraha. Their legitimate, and as-yet-unaddressed, concerns about the plant's safety were heightened by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board's recent admission that it has not implemented the recommendations of its own review committee, including the revision of safety parameters, and installation of backup freshwater and power sources. No emergency evacuation drill was conducted as mandated, in a 16-km radius, prior to fuel-loading. The government has refused to disclose pertinent information, including the Site Evaluation and Safety Analysis Reports, nuclear-waste management plans, and the agreement indemnifying the Russian supplier against accidents, which mocks the absolute liability principle. These documents need to be discussed publicly and at least with the people affected by the plant.
Instead, the government is accusing the protesters of sedition, and the protest of being "foreign-inspired", despite an absence of evidence.
We urge the government to suspend work at Kudankulam and engage directly and democratically with the concerns of the people who live in the vicinity, so that if the plant is to proceed it has their acceptance.
Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace, via email
Don't lose the fighting spirit
It was sad to read Khushwant Singh's article Desire to die (With Malice Towards One and All, September 17). It seems he has lost the will to fight. This is worrisome and uncharacteristic of Singh. He must ward off such negative thoughts. Singh is fortunate to have his mental faculties in place. We wish him a long life and hope that he continues to interact with his readers and admirers for many more years to come.
Brijender Mehta, via email