Dr,V.Pugazhenthi is a well known and respected doctor from Tamilnadu for his dedicated efforts to reveal the truth about ill effects of radiation in the areas surrounding Kalpakkam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamilnadu. Dr.Pugazhenthi is a gold medallist from Madurai Medical college. He chose to work amongst poor and needy instead of persuing higher studies. Since 1989 he has been working tirelessly providing inexpensive medical services to thousands of patients from villages surrounding Kalpakkam Nuclear Power plant.
During the course of treating the patients he felt that the radiation from the Nuclear Power plant may be affecting the villagers. Hence he started systematically conducting surveys since 2001. He has established with large material evidence that villagers are indeed getting severely affected by the radiation from Kalpakkam Nuclear power plant. Due to his persistent activities he has really proved to be a thorn in the flesh of Kalpakkam authorities and also the Nuclear lobby in general. But the local citizens have honoured his work by making him a consultant to a group of concerned local citizens on the ill effects of radiation. Rcently he was asked by People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy which spearheads people’s agitation against kudanukulam Nuclear Power Project to share his experiences.
On 1st December in the evening he was summoned by police inspector of Puthupattinam police station and was threatened with a false complaint lodged against him. When he saw that Dr.Pugazhenthi was not getting perturbed he even mentioned as an obvious threat about applying National Security Act for the work he is doing and asked him whether he has heard about “police encounter”.
Presently when all over the country literally lacs of people are actively opposing existing and proposed Nuclear Power Plants and demanding open debate and transparent action vis a vis scientific facts about Nuclear Power , such suppressive actions by the government agencies clearly reveals that government is willing to go to any extent to hide the truth about lack of safety and ill effects of Nuclear Power Plants.
We (LRS) condemn this activity of threatening Dr.Pugazhenthi and call upon all the men and women of conscience to condemn the government. Dr.Pugazhenthi has already declared that he is not going to be silenced by such threats. We attach herewith his clarification to the charges leveled against him. We also attach herewith a Statement in support of Dr.Pugazhenthi.
Letter by Dr.Pugazhenthi
To: All the Democratically Concerned People of Tamil Nadu, India and the World
Respected Friend, Madam/Sir:
Subject: False Charges filed on me to curtail my professional and democratic duty to warn the people I am serving about the ill effects of the nuclear radiation around the Kalpakkam Nuclear Power Plant.
I am a medical doctor practicing in Sadras village near the Kalpakkam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu, India, since 1989. I was a gold medalist during my undergraduate years at Madurai Medical College, but chose not to pursue higher education because I felt I should work among the poor masses in the villages. I chose Sadras as the place for my practice since I had many friends at Kalpakkam, who happened to work in the Kalpaakam Nuclear Power Plant.
From 1989 to 2000, my professional work was focused principally on serving the Dalit and the Fisher folks. My interests were in Primary Heath Care and I had devised many innovative cost efficient methods to treat the most prevalent diseases among the masses. I had written profusely about these methods in many journals and have published books highlighting these. My work was recognised by the local and national media and they had interviewed me many a times with regard to this. The noted magazine “Outlook” conducting a survey on the incidence of Polydactyly ( people with more than 5 fingers/toes in each hand or foot) in this region. This was early 2001 and was related to the public hearing process for the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor scheduled to be held on 27 July 2001. The survey showed a very high incidence and this made me plunge into studying the effects of radiation among the local populace. I have not looked back ever since and have conducted many a health surveys since. I have remained a whistle blower who have ardently asked the Nuclear Power Plant authorities to follow nationally and internationally accepted safety codes <http://www.kalpakkam.com/node/59>. Appreciating my work, I have been asked to become the technical and medical consultant to a group of concerned local citizens on the ill effects of radiation. This group called “ Anuk Kathirveechu Paathukaappukkaana Makkal Iyakkam” (Peoples Movement for Protection Against Nuclear Radiation)” is to conduct a protest on 12 November 2011 against the breech of nationally and internationally laid safety codes by the authorities of the Kalpakkam Nuclear Power Plant. Their contention has valid scientific proofs. People belonging to this movement are working for the past one month to make this protest a
It is in this background, I received a telephone call at 6 PM on 1 December 2011 from the Puthupattinam police station. The police inspector Mr.Siva Kumar, told me that the Puthupattinam Panchayat Chief had filed a petition against me and whether I could go to the Police Station for an enquiry in this regard. I was busy in my clinic and told him once my works were over I would meet him at the station. I went to the police station at 7.30 PM. I was asked to wait. The police inspector then telephoned the panchayat chief. He arrived at the station by 8..10 PM. The enquiry lasted for about 30 minutes. I left the place by 8.50 PM.
The police inspector narrated the charges filed against me by Mr.Kaliaperumal :
1. Mr.Kaliyaperumal, the Panchayat Chief of Puthupattinam village has filed a petition against me and one Mr.Nehru. He is charging us both that we had threatened to murder him if he does not cooperate with out anti nuclear work.
2. The alleged threat was sent to him in the form of an anonymous letter, which he said was penned by Mr.Nehru under my direction.
3. An SMS to his mobile phone from an unknown mobile phone number had also threatened to murder him. This is also alleged to have been sent by someone close to me under my directions.
4. Many SMS notes keep coming to his mobile phone from unknown numbers abusing him. He believes that all these SMS notes are sent to him under my directions.
I gave the following replies to the police inspector with respect to the above charges:
I do not involve myself in any anti nuclear work. I am only discharging my professional service by telling everyone about the findings culled from my two decade long work and critical studies related to health and nuclear radiation in general and Kalpakkam Nuclear Power Plant in particular. I am not an organiser of any anti nuclear movement but am and will remain a technical and medical consultant of such movements. Recently I have been asked by People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy that spearheads people’s agitation against Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project, to share my professional experiences as one of its panel of experts. Like this, I have shared my experiences and studies with people all around the country.
I have met the Panchayat Chief Mr.Kaliaperumal on various occasions. I have even congratulated him on the day he had won the local election. I have talked to him cordially always. I have explained to him as I explain to everyone I meet, about the issue of nuclear radiation around. As I work as a medical professional and not as a political organiser, where does the question of me threatening him to join my work? My work is to treat, study and share. Where does his charge fit in?
However, as you are asking me a particular question, I state here that I have not at any moment threatened Mr.Kaliaperumal to join an anti nuclear agitation.
I have nothing to do with the anonymous letter that threatens Mr.Kaliaperumal with death. I know Mr.Nehru, but under no circumstance he is working with me. The charge that Mr.Nehru wrote this letter under my influence is a concocted lie.
I have nothing to do with any of the SMS notes that are alleged to be received by Mr.Kaliaperumal.
As I finished with my reply, the police inspector said he has not filed the First Information Report. However, he asked me to give in writing that “I would be present at the police station whenever I am summoned by him for further enquiries. If I am not present for such enquiries, then I agree that the charges kept on me is true.” I told him what that would mean to my daily professional schedule. I explained to him how the poor patients who come to see me from miles afar would deeply suffer. However, he insisted that I should give this in writing. At last, as a good samaritan,I gave him in writing that whenever he summons me I would be present at the police station.
Once I gave him this written note, he told me in a very harsh warning voice: “ Doctor! Do you know that I can book you under national Security Act for whatever the works that you are doing? By the way…. Have you ever heard anything about “police encounter”? So, be careful.” I remain baffled. However, there’s no way my professional and democratic work can be suspended by any force whatever.
I strongly suspect the hand of the authorities of the Kalpakkam Nuclear Power Plant behinnd all this. They are particularly disturbed by the facts I have recently published with respect to the safety codes being practiced by them. They are, I suspect, disturbed by a news that I am about to publish a book that is to question the various safety issues related with the power plant. I think, by intimidating me with such police threats, they believe that they will be able to make the Kalpakkam environment radiologically safe.
I have been open always for discussion with the authorities of the power plant. I have met them many a times and have always shared all the data available with me. However, they have, over the past 10 years have not tried to answer any of my questions in the earnest. Now, I suspect, that they have decided to opt other means to silence my work.
It is in this regard, I request all of you – my democratically minded brethren – to pray and voice for me and my family members.
Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, India
2 December 2011
Statement in support of Dr.Pugazhenthi
STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF Dr. V. PUGAZHENTHI OF KALPAKKAM
We, the under-signed, are distraught at the strong-arm tactics used by Puthupattinam Police Inspector Mr. Sivakumar to silence Dr. V. Pugazhenthi , who has used his training as a medical doctor and experience as a
researcher into the medical effects of radiation to treat and educate people from the villages surrounding the Kalpakkam Nuclear Power Plant. On 1 December, 2011, Dr. Pugazhenthi was summoned to the Puthupattinam police station on the pretext of an enquiry into a complaint filed by the Panchayat president alleging that Dr. Pugazhenthi threatened to murder him if he failed to join the agitation against nuclear energy. The fact that
this is a lie is clearly established by the material evidence produced by the complainant — namely, an anonymous letter allegedly written at Dr. Pugazhenthi’s behest, threatening sms messages from unknown numbers, calls made but from unknown numbers allegedly by Dr. Pugazhenthi to complainant’s phone threatening to kill him etc. Indeed, this was no enquiry. At no point in time did the Inspector ask for any clarification from the complainant about the numbers from which the calls and SMSes were received. Neither did he care to verify whether the calls or SMSes could even have originated from Dr. Pugazhenthi. In other words, the Inspector seemed to have made up his mind about Dr. Pugazhenthi’s culpability even prior to conducting the enquiry. At the end of the enquiry, Inspector Sivakumar threatened to use the National Security Act against Dr. Pugazhenthi and asked him if he knew what an “encounter” was. For Mr. Sivakumar to have suggested the use of the National Security Act against Dr. Pugazhenthi, and worse to allude to an ”encounter” is a gross abuse of power and tantamount to the crime of criminal intimidation.
Dr. Pugazhenthi is a gold medallist from the Madurai Medical College, who chose to work among the poor and needy. Since 1989, he has run a barefoot clinic providing inexpensive service to thousands of patients from the villages in the vicinity of the Kalpakkam reactor. As a medical doctor with ethics and a conscience, the doctor not just treats his patients but also educates them on the causes of their ailments. Owing to his integrity and knowledge about issues relating to radiation, Dr. Pugazhenthi has been nominated as an advisor to a local citizens’ organisation against radiation hazards. On 12 December, this organisation is set to organise a day-long fast to highlight the safety lapses at the Kalpakkam plant.
Even as a debate rages on about the pros and cons of nuclear power, centred around the pitched battles by farmers and fisherfolk in Koodankulam, Jaitapur and Gorakhpur, a silent tragedy is unfolding in our midst around the currently operating nuclear power plants in our country.
Inspector Sivakumar is merely a cog in the wheel. The Department of Atomic Energy, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd and the nuclear lobby’s handiwork in this instance of intimidation is evident. Having failed in their attempt to use science to convince people about the safety and justification of using nuclear power, the nuclear lobby wants to silence all voices that offer a differing view on the matter of nuclear energy.
We strongly condemn the actions of the nuclear lobby. We are writing to the District Collector, Kanchipuram District, and the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu seeking immediate action against the errant official, Inspector Sivakumar. We also request the State Government to ensure that an atmosphere conducive for an informed debate on the pros and cons of nuclear energy be created as this would be the best course of action for democracy and a sustainable future.
1. Nityanand Jayaraman, Vettiver Kootamaippu, Chennai
c/o H16/9 Seevakan Street, Kalakshetra Colony, Chennai 600 090
2. Madhumita Dutta, Researcher, Activist, Chennai
3. Praful Bidwai, Columnist, New Delhi
4. M.G. Devasahayam (Retd) I.A.S. Managing Trustee, SUSTAIN, Chennai
5. VT Padmanabhan, Researcher on Radiation and Health, Kannur
6. Sukla Sen, EKTA, Mumbai
7. Karen Coelho, Faculty, Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai 8. M. Vijayabaskar, Faculty, Madras Institute of Development Studies,
9. Dharmesh Shah, Vettiver Kootamaippu, Chennai
10. Shweta Narayan, Vettiver Kootamaippu, Chennai
11. K. Saravanan, Vettiver Kootamaippu, Chennai
12. E.A.S. Sarma, (Retd) I.A.S. Vishakapatnam
13. Naveen Vasudevan, Concerned Citizen, Chennai
14. G. Sundarrajan, Poovulagin Nanbargal, Chennai
15. Anil Tharayath Varghese, Programme for Social Action, New Delhi
16. M.J. Vijayan, Delhi Forum, New Delhi
17. Lakshmi Premkumar, Delhi Forum, New Delhi
18. Johnson PJ, Dynamic Action, Kerala
19. Philip George, Partners in Justice Concerns (PJC-India), Bangalore
20. Xavier Dias, Editor, Khan Khaneej & Adhikar, Jharkhand
21. Punit Minz, Jharkhand Mines Area Coordination Committee, Jharkhand
22. Ashok Choudhary, National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers,
23. Shaktiman Ghosh, National Hawkers’ Federation, India
24. Bhupinder S Rawat, Jan Sangharsh Vahini, Delhi
25. Rajendra Ravi, Institute for Democracy and Sustainability, New Delhi
26. Sunita Rani, National Alliance of Domestic Workers, India
27. George PT, Intercultural Resources, Delhi
28. Prem Piram & Arun Mohan, Media Collective, New Delhi
29. Ashok Sharma, Update Collective, Delhi
30. Benny Kuruvila, Focus on Global South, India
31. Janaki Srinivasan, Department of Political Science, Panjab University,
32. Soumya Dutta, Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha, New Delhi
33. Matanhy Saldanha, National Fishworkers Forum, Goa, India
34. T. Peter, Kerala Swatantra Matsya Thozhilali Federation, Kerala
35. Pradip Chatterjee, DISHA, West Bengal
36. Debasis Shyamal, Dakshin Banga Matsya Jeebi Forum, West Bengal
37. Mohan Rao, National Handloom Weavers’ Federation, Andhra Pradesh
38. Joe Athialy, Delhi Solidarity Group, New Delhi
39. Sandeep Pandey, Asha Parivaar-NAPM, Lucknow
40. Prafulla Samatara, Lok Sakti Abhiyan-NAPM, Orissa
41. Gabriele Doetrich, NAPM Tamilnadu, Madurai
42. Anand Mazgaonkar, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti – NAPM Gujarat
43. Ramakrishan Raju and Sarasvathy Javula, NAPM, Andhra Pradesh
44. Madhuresh Kumar, NAPM, New Delhi
45. Anuradha Talwar, Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samiti, Kolkata
46. George, IGR