News / Asia

Protest Escalates at Proposed Indian Nuclear Site

Indian police officers use batons on a villager opposing a government plan to build a nuclear power plant in Jaitapur, Maharashtra state, India, April 19, 2011
Indian police officers use batons on a villager opposing a government plan to build a nuclear power plant in Jaitapur, Maharashtra state, India, April 19, 2011
Kurt Achin

Protests at the site of a proposed nuclear plant in India are heating up well in advance of a mass rally scheduled there next week. There has been at least one death so far, and demonstrators say the government is ignoring their concerns about the threat the reactor poses to their safety and livelihoods.  

India's Maharashtra state ordered an investigation Tuesday into the deadly shooting of a protester in the Indian city of Jaitapur. Police said they had "no option" but to fire live ammunition after protests against construction of a nuclear facility in the area turned violent.

The deal to build the Jaitapur complex was signed with a French company during French President Nicholas Sarkozy's visit in December. Indian officials say Jaitapur and 20 other nuclear facilities will generate one-fourth of India's rapidly growing energy needs by 2050.

Local residents are bitterly opposed, complaining the project would displace them from their land and disrupt traditional livelihoods like fishing. The recent disaster at Japan's Fukushima reactor has fueled further opposition, with protesters claiming the coastal Jaitapur reactor is in an earthquake prone area, and may be just as susceptible to the forces of a tsunami.

Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has called for a safety review of India's nuclear facilities, but says the government is not about to "rethink" the Jaitapur project.

He says he has raised certain issues, and the government is debating those issues, and it is very necessary that we mull over these concerns. But, the environment minister says, there is no alternative to pursuing nuclear energy.

India's main nuclear power company says all 20 Indian nuclear plants have been inspected and are capable of handling natural disasters.

Opponents of the planned set of nuclear reactors vow they will press forward with a mass rally set to culminate in Jaitapur next Monday.

Karuna Raina, a nuclear campaigner with the environmental group Greenpeace in India, expects there will be clashes at next week's protest, and blames the draconian behavior of police for tension in the area.

"If you look at what has been happening since last December: People have been arrested in the middle of the night and, I mean, there has been a kind of police state going on in Jaitapur," said Raina.

Raina says the state and national government have fueled anger by failing to take opponents of the Jaitapur project seriously.

"They have been patronizing and condescending, and they haven't even heard people out. The least the government can do is be open and transparent, and listen to people's concerns," she said. "They let it build to this level."

Hardline Hindu nationalist party Shiv Sena, a dominant political force in Maharashtra, is backing the protests. Senior Indian officials from India's ruling Congress party accuse Shiv Sena of stoking the rallies for political gain.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid