Tamil Nadu cops refuse to revoke lookout circular against activist SP Udhayakumar

The DMK-led state government had earlier closed as many as 295 of the 349 cases registered against the people who protested against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant.

Published: 23rd September 2023 08:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd September 2023 08:22 AM   |  A+A-

SP Udayakumar

Founder of People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) SP Udayakumar

Express News Service

KANNIYAKUMARI:  Tamil Nadu Police refused to withdraw the Look Out Circular (LOC) issued against anti-nuke activist and People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) convenor Suba Udhayakumar despite a court order allowing him to get a passport.

The state police had issued an LOC against Udhayakumar on January 1, 2013, in the backdrop of intense agitation against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) at Idinthakarai in the Tirunelveli district. The agitation lasted more than two years between 2011 and 2013, following which the central government ceased Udhayakumar’s passport in 2015.

The DMK-led state government had earlier closed as many as 295 of the 349 cases registered against the people who protested against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. Udhayakumar also managed to get a fresh passport on March 6, 2023, with one-year validity, following a seven-year-long legal battle. However, the state government did not withdraw the LOC pending against the activist, which resulted in his ban from flying abroad. When the matter was taken to court, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court ordered the Tirunelveli police to dispose of the petition dated July 5, seeking withdrawal of LOC, within two weeks.

However, Tirunelveli SP N Silambarasan refused to withdraw the LOC against Udhayakumar through his executive order dated September 16, citing that at least 19 cases registered against Udhayakumar are pending in the court while five cases are being investigated by the police. The SP also said he is still actively opposing the KNPP project, and spreading misinformation about the nuclear plant on social media.  

Speaking to TNIE, Udhayakumar, said the Tirunelveli SP sent a team of police headed by an SI, to paste his executive order on the walls of his house in Nagercoil, instead of responding to the court. So I refused to receive it, he said.

Udhayakumar had recently questioned the accident involving the barge ferrying Russian-made steam generators that hit the rock, off the Kudankulam coast. “It is public and evident. The state has the responsibility to answer the public about the incident involving components imported for a nuclear project,” he said and questioned if this is wrong information.

ALSO READ | Be transparent about steam generators stuck in rock: Anti-nuclear activist

Udhayakumar is a graduate with an MA (Peace) from the University of Notre Dame, and holds a PhD in Political Sciences from the University of Hawaii, US, and was a visiting professor in various universities in the US and European countries, handling various subjects, including conflict transformation, human rights, sustainable development, and future studies.

With the LOC pending, Udhayakumar lost multiple job offers. “Teaching at foreign universities has been my profession since 1990. The travel ban evoked post anti-KNPP agitation has forced me to stay in the country since 2011 leaving me jobless, incomeless, and without a bank account. Owing to police threats, the local universities do not call me for guest lectures,” he said, adding that he was stopped by immigration officials at Delhi airport when he was on a trip to Nepal in 2014.

Recalling that Chief Minister MK Stalin had announced to revoke all the cases pending against the KNPP agitators, and had done so partially, he said that ironically the TN police refused to withdraw the LOC against him. 

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