Police charge protest bishop

For aiding and abetting protest against the Koodankulam nuclear power plant

Police charge protest bishop
The protest against the impending opening of the nuclear plant
Leo Fernando, Chennai, India

November 16, 2011

Police have charged a bishop and four parish priests with aiding and supporting a protest against the Koodankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu. Bishop Yvon Ambroise of Tuticorin diocese said yesterday that he and the priests along with some social activists have also been charged with illegal assembly and preventing government officials from carrying out official work at the construction site in Koodankulam in Tirunelveli district of the sourthern Indian state. The plant is scheduled to commence operation next month. “We are aware of the charge sheets and will face the charges legally,” Bishop Ambroise said yesterday. He said that the case is a tactic to create fear among protestors. “We are undeterred by the charges filed by the local police and the struggle will go on,” he added. For the last two months, protestors, mainly Catholic fishermen, have been agitating against the newly built US$3 billion nuclear power plant, built with Russian technology in Koodankulam. Xavier Fernando, a lay leader, said that since the protest began on September 11, more than 8,000 people have been charged by police for protesting against the nuclear plant. Bishop Ambroise said, “We were objecting to the plant from the beginning but after the Fukushima disaster in Japan, people have also understood the problems with nuclear energy and are protesting against the plant.” He clarified that the anti-nuclear agitation was a people’s movement and not a church-led movement. The prelate said he also suspected that police action was taken because of Hindu right-wing groups who are against the protest. Related stories: Fishermen call off anti-nuclear fast Protesters take aim at nuclear plant

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