''Disregarding calls for caution arising from the ongoing nuclear disaster at Fukushima, the Indian government has announced that it is going ahead with the Jaitapur nuclear project. This will mean imposing reactors of an untested design upon an unwilling people and a uniquely precious ecosystem. There has been no independent and credible review of India's nuclear power policy, nor a proper safety audit of our nuclear installations after Fukushima. Public-spirited citizens are again called upon to urge the government to reconsider its stand, and to demand that the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board be given a truly independent and powerful mandate and that its members be selected with great care and prudence. More than 60 eminent citizens from different walks of life have signed the following statement. The prominent signatories include former Chiefs of Naval Staff Admiral L Ramdas and Vishnu Bhagwat, former Major-General SG Vombatkere, former Planning Commission member SP Shukla, former Atomic Energy Regulatory Board chairman A Gopalakrishnan, former vice-chancellors Deepak Nayyar and Mushirul Hasan, former Ambassador to the United Nations Nirupam Sen, social scientists Romila Thapar, Sumit and Tanika Sarkar, Ramachandra Guha, Rajeev Bhargava, Amit Bhaduri, Achin Vanaik and Zoya Hasan, and scientists PM Bhargava, Satyajit Rath, MV Ramana, Suvrat Raju, writer Arundhati Roy, dancer Leela Samson, artistes Krishen Khanna, Ghulam Shaikh, SG Vasudev, Vivan Sundaram and Bharti Kher, veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar, and many others, including scholars, and social and environmental activists such as Vandana Shiva and Aruna Roy.''
Hazare’s success in mobilising the normally apolitical middle class speaks of a strong revulsion against corruption and shows up huge flaws in the system. But it can also harm democratic politics.
Three partial core meltdowns and other crises have precipitated a nuclear nightmare. This is a wake-up call for the world.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Milosevic Modi has again demonstrated that his capacity for setting new lows in politics remains undiminished. His government has banned Great Soul, a new biography of Mahatma Gandhi by former New York Times India bureau chief and editor Joseph Lelyveld. The ground for the ban, passed after a unanimous vote by the Gujarat Legislative Assembly, is based on hearsay—a review by Andrew Roberts, a British practitioner of canned imperialist history and vulgar celebration of royalty, in The Wall Street Journal, one of the world’s most wretchedly Right-wing papers.
What do social scientists Romila Thapar, Ramachandra Guha and Jean Dreze, dancers Leela Samson and Malavika Sarukkai, former bureaucrats/diplomats SP Shukla, Nirupam Sen and EAS Sarma, retired Navy chief L Ramdas, writers Arundhati Roy and Nayantara Sahgal, scientists MV Ramana and PM Bhargava, artists Krishen Khanna and Vivan Sundaram, and former vice-chancellors Mushirul Hasan and Deepak Nayyar, have in common? The answer is, concern about the safety of nuclear power, highlighted by the still-unfolding disaster at Fukushima in Japan. This impelled these eminent individuals to sign a statement demanding a thorough and independent review of India’s nuclear power programme, and pending it, a moratorium on further nuclear projects.
Of all the Assembly elections due or in progress in India, those in West Bengal are critical and of pivotal importance. They will determine the fate of the Left, a significant current in Indian politics whose intellectual and moral-political influence far exceeds its parliamentary strength. Most opinion polls and more cerebral assessments suggest that the Left Front, led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM), will lose the elections.