Monday, 17 July 2017

Third Law #3: Hence, Tamils are anti-Indian

There is a generalised image over the people of Tamil Nadu as they are always against any of the schemes announced by the Central government. Starting from the Koodankulam Nuclear Powerplant to the present protests against Methane extraction in Kadhiramangalam and Neduvasal, for every Central government's project, there is a huge protest driven by the people. This has even earned an honour of being anti-Indian.

Well, not like the retro age, when people movement were carried out just once or twice a decade, like the anti-Hindi imposition protests and Tamil Eelam supporters movement, but today, the State has already witnessed as many as four protests in a single year since January and all were against the Central government.

Source: Internet
Today, its the burning issues of Kadiramangalam and Neduvasal, that have joined the row of protests this year. When I tried to take up an analysis about this, several inferences were harvested out of it. Here are some excerpts of that.

At first, it was the pro-Jallikattu protest intimidated by the youth of Tamil Nadu and later by the rest, that showed how a massive revolution should be, and too was successful, as the Center accepted to conduct the bull embracing sporting event. Following this, two protests started to evolve from ground zero and both related to agriculture. Firstly it was the people of Neduvasal who raised against the Central and the State governments, and stressed them to quit the hydrocarbon extraction project in their village. 

Later, it was found that the extraction of hydrocarbon by ONGC was not only carried out in Neduvasal, but also across the Cauvery delta region and the other parts of the State.

In the mean time, farmers of Cauvery delta districts were carrying out protests against the Central government in New Delhi for over 50 continuous days, with a demand to write off their loans. Following these three mass protests, now its Kadhiramangalam village, again in Cauvery delta that has raised its voice against the hydro carbon extraction in their village by ONGC.

However, in this decade, these protests were pioneered by the people's movement against the Nuclear Power Plant at Koodnakulam village in Tirunelveli district, which voiced for protecting the environment and the aquatic ecosystem of the coastal village. It is to be noted that the revolution driven by the people of  Koodankulam inspired the people of Fukushima in Japan, who too started off a protest in their neighbourhood after the largest nuclear accident Asia has ever witnessed.

In all these protests, it is the people of those neighbourhoods, who are supposed to be direct victims, carried out the movement. But, when analysed in deep, all these protests witnessed its peak only when the projects were in the edge of implementation.

In this juncture, a common comment from the government and the bureaucrats is, "What were they doing until the project took off?" When the same question was raised to one of their farmers during their protest in the New Delhi, he raised a cross question, "So do you think that the farmers are protesting in the nick of the moment and were mum for all these day?" and continued speaking, "It is a well known fact that farmers have been facing a lot of issues for a long time in this country. They were protesting for their loan waiver in their own home towns every now and then in the past decade. Their voices were not heard when they were divided, once they united altogether and driven a mass protest only then whole of the country looked at them."

According to him, whatever the government can blame on the protesters, but their demands were justifiable.
Source: Internet
While writer Muthukrishnan in his book (Koodankulam, Vizhithezhum Unmaigal) on People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), the organisation that is driving the anti-nuclear movement in Koodankulam has explained that, the protest against the Koodankulam NPP is taking place since its announcement in the late 1980's. But, the movement became so serious only after the people of Koodankulam understood the real impacts of a nuclear power plant. The people approached SP Udayakumar to lead them for their protests after the power-plant officials demonstrated about the precaution measures if the power-plant meets an accident.

So is in the case of the people of Neduvasal and Kadhiramangalam, who are said to be blindly opposing the hydrocarbon project by the ONGC. Renowned environmentalist Nityanand Jayaraman in one of his self answered FAQs had written 

"How can they oppose it without knowing the specifics of the project, especially when ONGC has been successfully extracting hydrocarbons in the delta region for decades without protest?" 

Answer: "While specific information may not be available, villagers are aware about the general consequences of hydrocarbon extraction thanks to a successful and popular campaign against a controversial coal-bed methane (CBM) project in Thanjavur between 2010 and 2016. Led by the late G. Nammalwar, a popular organic farming proponent, the campaign included a massive awareness drive to educate villagers about CBM as well as about how hydrocarbons are extracted from Earth, the effects of such operations on the environment and on people’s livelihoods."

The burning issue of Kadhiramangalam and Neduvasal in the State is being taken forward by the people themselves after they understood the consequences of the project. A resident of Kadhiramanagalm, said, "When the officials asked for our land for setting up the project, they said that it will be like a bore-well of water, but will be used to extract oil. However, when the students from the local colleges came down here and elaborated on the effects of hydrocarbon extraction, we were made aware of the serious consequences of it". 

He said that, there were only a few who came for protest in the early stages of it. "Later, when there was a gas leak and when the land caught fire, our village understood the effects of it and almost all flown into the protesting grounds", he added.

So, from the point of the protesters in every single protest, their side is justified. All they ask in a unanimous call is that, the government should elaborate on the procedure of every of its project and should roll out a public opinion forum before the scheme takes off.

Source: Internet
But, my take on this is that, the government will never do that. If any project that is brought up by the government really in the view of an infrastructure or an economic development, the project would not have these many anomalies and hazards. Be it Methane extraction or Koodankulam Nuclear Powerplant, despite the profits out of them, their effects on the environment and people are negative all the time.

From the cases in history, which have taught us about these kind of anti-environmental projects, it  is very clear that the government is either not concerned about the people who get victimised by its so called growth intended projects or, it has a hidden agenda of a slow paced genocide like a slow-poison. So, there is not going to be any end to this agitating mindset ('anti-Indian mindset' in their language) of Tamils until the government stops. If the government is taking an anti-environment stand, then why not people be anti-Indian?

- Santhosh Mathevan
Chennai, July 17, 2017.

This column, 'Third Law' will feature current affairs that break out to be the news of any day. In this column, I will try to figure out and put to the public debate, the reactions of any incident that might cause some serious effects on the society. Because, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

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