TIRUNELVELI: Several youngsters from Kudankulam, Valliyur and nearby villages, said they continue to lose job opportunities due to the pending police cases registered against them during the anti-Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) protests in 2011.
Of the 349 cases registered at the time, in which hundreds were booked, 84 are still pending in the Kudankulam, Pazhavoor, Radhapuram and Uvari police stations, said Tirunelveli district police.
‘Several non-protesters booked’
Since thousands took part in the protests, names often got mixed up and resulted in cases being registered against people who did not join the protests, said Kudankulam Grama Nala Sabha President Arimutharasu.
A 37-year-old Kudankulam resident, on a condition of anonymity, said that in 2011 he had been transporting goods for a salary of Rs 25,000 for the KKNPP construction works. The works had just started on the “12 acres of land his family had offered” for the construction. However, despite not taking part in the protest, he was booked following an inquiry, and jailed for 63 days in Vellore, he claimed. The man said he had to spend Rs 4 lakh for bail and other expenses.
“I was not even questioned at the court on whether or not I had taken part in the protest,” he said, adding that the case cost him his previous job, an overseas job offer and one from the KKNPP itself.
For the last nine years, he has been working as a computer operator for a salary of Rs 10,000 a month, reeling under the ripples of a prolonged case.
Another person still battling an open case is Power Singh, a retired school headmaster from Uvari. He was booked in September 2012 – the same month he received the chief minister’s “Best Teacher Award” – and the case against him is still pending.
‘Over 100 cases pending'
Advocate Semmani – one of the 10 lawyers working to close the cases – said that the Valliyur Judicial Magistrate Court had closed several cases, as 3,500 people booked could not be summoned.
In 2015-2016, 213 more cases were closed, leaving 35 pending, he said.
T Ganesan (52), one of the front-line protesters, said that the protest committee, initially, helped closing several cases. The issue is being stressed now, with numerous petitions from the residents, as the plant has started recruiting labourers. He alleged that the cases had been registered “following a petition from a politician”, who after nine years, has now submitted another petition to close the cases.
Despite Superintendent of Police Manivannan’s assurance of providing Police Verification Certificate for minor cases, several youths requested the State government to provide No Objection Certificates (NOCs) to help with their passport clearance for working abroad.