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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs