In solidarity with Dr. Udayakumar, anti-nuclear activist targeted by “journalists”

Udaykumar-Vidhi Doshi

Dr Udaykumar believes that India’s nuclear programme is a costly prestige exercise that endangers the lives of millions. Plus, he points out, villagers are still living in the dark, since most of India’s energy is used by the industrial sector. “Who really benefits from the nuclear plants in the end, except the foreign companies that are building these plants in India?” he says. Photo: Vidhi Doshi/The Guardian

Just heard from peace activist friend Lalita Ramdas in India that the well known anti-nuclear, village-based activist in India Dr. S. P. Udayakumaran, has filed a complaint with the press council of India against the harassment meted out to him and his family by Republic TV and its reporters (see below). Shame on these people using journalism like an entertainment tool, bringing a bad name to the profession. This is not the first time he has been targeted. Read this piece in The Guardian last year on The lonely struggle of India’s anti-nuclear protesters – a struggle that Dr Udaykumar plays a key role in.

It is truly shocking to see the extent to which our so called free and fair media will go to implicate one of our best minds, those with integrity of purpose and courage to stand up for what they deem to be right.

Uday Kumar whom we have known for decades, is a fine scholar, a fearless fighter, and a Gandhian practitioner who had led one of the longest , peaceful and non- violent struggles in our recent history.

Being against nuclear energy and nuclear weapons does not make you anti national.

On the contrary it is these men and women of Idinthikkarai/Koodankulam, who have demonstrated a commitment to the people of this country through their amazing struggle for a nuclear free India.

If this is seditious and unpatriotic and anti national, then I am too.

Lalita Ramdas

Dr Udaykumar’s letter below:


June 21, 2017

S. P. Udayakumar, Ph.D.
Coordinator:
People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)
Pachai Tamizhagam Katchi (Green Tamil Nadu Party)

Kudankulam-AP

The Russian-built nuclear power plant at Kudankulam. Photo: Rafiq Maqbool/AP

Hon’ble Mr. Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad
The Chairman
Press Council of India
Soochna Bhavan
8-C.G.O. Complex
Lodhi Road
New Delhi 110 003
Email: vibha.b@nic.in, secy-pci@nic.in, pcibpp@gmail.com, pcibppcomplaint@gmail.com

Dear Sir:

Greetings! I write to bring your kind attention to the ongoing deceit and harassment of me and my family by Mr. Arnab Ranjan Goswami and a few of his colleagues such as Shweta and Sanjeev from the Republic TV.

On April 8, 2017, one “Shweta Sharma” (I later found out that her real name was Shweta Kothari) came to my home at Nagercoil and introduced herself as a “research scholar” from the Cardiff University in the UK. She asked for my help with her dissertation research. She had been accompanied by her “local friend” Sanjeev. I gave her several books and answered her questions.

On April 9, 2017 she requested me to stop by her hotel room as she had a few more questions. There she told me that “one of her British professors” was very keen on supporting our struggle against the Koodankulam nuclear power plant. I told her that we did not accept money from foreigners and our movement had no bank account also. She then asked me if there was any other way of donating money to us. I told her that my personal account was frozen and that even our party account could not receive foreign funds. So I said she could not donate money from abroad but her parents could do it here in India if she sent the money to them. I also mentioned clearly that I would give proper receipt and the money will be accounted for.  I also informed her that we were not interested in getting foreign funds.

Mr. Arnab Goswami and his team telecasted this as a so-called “sting operation” on me at 2 pm on June 20, 2017 in their Republic TV and alleged that our struggle against the Koodankulm nuclear power project was funded by the Church with foreign donations. I took part in the very same panel discussion on Republic TV and clarified what had transpired. But Mr. Goswami was so abhorrent, abrasive and even abusive.

As I was taking part in their discussion from Kumbakonam town where I was attending an agitation, Republic TV reporter Sanjeev was standing in front of my home at Nagercoil from 2 pm till 11 pm that night harassing my parents aged 85 and 82 respectively, my wife and school-going son. He was insisting on their responding to their so-called sting operation. Even after they told him that I was out of town, he and three of his colleagues were hounding my family with their high-handed behavior.

Sanjeev showed up at my home again in the morning of June 21, 2017 and started harassing my family all over again. When my aged father objected to his ruthless behavior, he fraudulently reported on his TV that I personally had scolded him. I came to know about the whole incident when I came home in the evening.

In a desperate attempt to raise the TRP rate, the discredited Republic TV has been telecasting slanderous reports about me and spreading canards through social media. This kind of indecent and abusive behavior of an anchor and reporters is unacceptable in a democracy. The Republic TV and their reporters are crossing all limits and causing so much mental agony to me and my entire family.

In the light of the above situation, may I request you to do the needful to stop this anti-people TV from hurting me and more people in future, please. Looking forward to your immediate and favorable intervention, I send you my best personal regards and all peaceful wishes.

Cordially,

S. P. Udayakumar

Women-anti nuke-K Vigneshwaran

Women at the forefront of the protest against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant are seen in the fishing village of Idinthakarai. Photo: K Vigneshwaran/Guardian

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