Chennai: Last minute preparations are on in the villages of coastal Tirunelveli in southern Tamil Nadu as protesters opposing the construction of a nuclear power plant in Kundankulam prepare to host a New Year's eve celebration, marking their struggle.
Thousands of people have gathered on the beaches of the villages of Tirunelveli, activists led by the People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) said in a media release.
Idinthakarai village, which has been the nucleus of the struggle, welcomed hundreds of people who have come to celebrate New Year with the local communities, they said.
Groups from West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Odisha, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa, Pondicherry, Kerala and other regions of Tamil Nadu have assembled to salute the valiant struggle of the local people against the Kudankulam nuclear project. The local people represented the coastal villages of Idinthakarai, Kudankulam, Vairavikinaru, Kuthankuzhi, Koottappuli and Perumanal, activists said.
Activist leader Dr. S.P. Udayakumar said, "The second phase of our struggle began on the 16th of August 2011. More than 500 days since, we have sustained this struggle against the worst odds, facing extreme repression unleashed by the undemocratic and insensitive Indian state."
"We wish to remind Sonia Gandhi, Jayalalitha, Dr. Manmohan Singh, Karunanidhi and other such political leaders that this struggle will continue till our last breath. The last child of Kudankulam area also will resist this destruction of our land, livelihood and natural resources", said Udayakumar.
Testimonials by different movement groups, fighting different destructive developmental projects in different parts of the country, are planned in the next two days of the celebration gathering, the activists said.
Along with this, songs, dances, theatre performances, painting, sportive events, etc. have been planned to make the two day celebration of the 'New Year 2013 @ Kudankulam: Celebrating Resistance, Asserting Freedom', a memorable experience for both visiting and the local people.
People from various walks of life including Dr. Binayak Sen, Adv. Prashant Bhushan, Admiral (Rtd) Ramdas, Achin Vinaik, Adv. Colin Gonsalves, Praful Bidwai, Gabriela Dietrich, Ashim Roy, Lalita Ramdas, Anil Choudhary, Ajitha George, Dr. Meher Engineer, T. Peter, CR Neelakandan, Sr. Celia, Vilayodi Venugopal, Laha Gopalan, and others are scheduled to address the national and local media from Lourde Matha Church premises at Idinthakarai at 3 pm on the Dec 31, the activists said.
They will be joined by local movement representatives including Dr. S P Udayakumar, Malar Manickam, Pushparayan and others.
All through 2012, Kudankulam - the now famous epicentre of anti-nuclear struggle in Tamil Nadu, India - was in the news for the local people's fight against the nuclear power plant.
The Indian government has rubbished the concerns and with support from the state run atomic department scientists, called them as 'unscientific apprehensions' and 'baseless fears'.