The government’s plan to use psychiatrists to counsel activists opposing the Koodankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu has drawn flak.
After Express on May 19 published the report: With Nimhans’ Help, Govt to Counter Anti-nuke Mind-set, which spoke of how the Centre was planning the use of counselling skills of social psychologists to combat opposition to the plant, the Prime Minister’s Office has been flooded with emails and letters from anti-nuclear activists from across the globe.
Anti-nuke activists, including those from Australia, Japan, Germany, Italy and France, besides activists and prominent personalities from India have been pressurising the government to shun its project to counsel those opposing the plant.
Letters also ask the PM to address issues on safety, drills, environment impact assessment, impact on marine life and livelihoods. In his letter to the PM, former Chief of Naval Staff Admiral L Ramdas has expressed shock “on the plans to task National Institute of Mental Health (NIMHANS) to investigate the so called ‘imbalances’ in the minds of those protesting against nuclear power, especially in Koodankulam”.
Ramdas said: “Resort to such measures only exposes the utter loss of direction, and failure to deal with the emerging situation, by every single arm of government, especially the entire nuclear and scientific establishment. The inept and knee-jerk handling of protest; the total lack of transparency and high-handed and repressive action by the police, have made it the laughing stock of the nation and international observers, while demonstrating our inability to act maturely and independently...” Asking the Centre to pursue the path of dialogue, he said: “I sincerely hope that the alleged psychiatric intervention at the behest of the government is withdrawn.”