New Delhi: Activist Aruna Roy and anti-nuclear campaigners Wednesday condemned the police crackdown on protesters in Koodankulam and charging of nearly 7,000 villagers under sedition, saying such actions threatens the fundamental democracy of the country.
The activists of Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP) said the villagers were only exercising their right to raise questions that pertains to their well-being and those using non-violent means to protest should not be charged with sedition.
Addressing a press conference here, Roy said several allegations levelled against the outfits spearheading the protest against the Koodankulam nuclear plant were not true.
"The hallmark of an intelligent society is its ability to ask questions. If I am in doubt, I have the right to ask questions. A simple act of asking questions is treated as sedition here.
"Government has no business in clamping down on protests," she said, adding that such actions threaten the very fundamentals of democracy.
She said the words sedition and treason are used casually these days and one cannot term all methods of protest seditious, and added that there were no proper discussion on the nuclear plant.
On allegations that protest organisers were getting foreign donations, Roy said it was "completely wrong" and she herself had the experience of seeing local fishermen donating one-day wages, beedi workers donating one-tenth of their earnings and shopkeepers contribute.
"You can run a school or a leprosy institute on foreign funds. You cannot fund a protest. To me this allegation does not hold water," Roy said referring to allegations by Union Ministers Sushil Kumar Shinde and V Narayanasamy.
CNDP`s Praful Bidwai claimed that police have filed hundreds of FIRs naming 55,700 people over a period of time out of which 6,918 face sedition charges.
"This is manifestly ridiculous. There is not a single incident of violence," he said alleging that there was police mayhem in several places of Tamil Nadu.