Chennai: A 50-year-old German national was arrested by the Tamil Nadu police on Monday for allegedly raising funds to support the protests against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant.
Sonnteg Reiner Hermann in Nagercoil was brought to Chennai after being arrested. His visa was cancelled and he has reportedly been deported. As per sources he had come to India on a tourist visa. He is also said to have been in constant touch with a close aide of Udayakumar, the man who is spearheading the Kudankulam stir.
Hermann’s arrest comes just days after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had alleged that Indian NGOs were getting funds from the US and Scandinavian countries for stalling the commissioning of the Indo-Russian joint venture.
The Prime Minister, in an interview to a science journal had said that the atomic energy programme had run into difficulties because foreign NGOs did not appreciate India’s need to increase energy supply.
"The atomic energy programme has got into difficulties because these NGOs mostly, I think, based in the US, don`t appreciate the need for our country to increase energy. The local NGO-led protests have stalled the commissioning of two 1000 mw nuclear reactors," Singh was quoted as saying.
The anti-nuke protestors have threatened to sue the PM for his remarks.
As per reports acting on a tip-off from Delhi, the `Q` branch of Tamil Nadu police conducted a surprise check at a lodge in Nagercoil and found evidence of the German’s involvement in mobilising funds for the anti-nuclear activists. Later Hermann was picked up for questioning.
The `Q` branch of Tamil Nadu monitors the activities of non-governmental organisations in the state. "We had been watching his movements and found that he was sourcing funds for activists in Tamil Nadu. We collected Hermann`s mobile phone call details and found that he was in touch with Lalmohan, a close aide of Udayakumar who is leading the anti-nuclear agitation in Kudankulam," according to a police officer who was quoted in a leading daily.
Meanwhile MoS in the PMO V Narayanasamy said that the Union government had cancelled licenses of three NGOs in Tamil Nadu for violating the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act.
These NGO’s did not maintain proper accounts and were not using money for the purpose that they were meant to be, as per Narayanasamy.
Activities of some other NGOs who receive foreign funds are also being probed by central agencies.
Earlier, addressing businessmen from the Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce & Industry, college students and Congress workers, Narayansamy had criticized anti-nuke protestors for
indulging in "false propaganda and showing an "intransigent" attitude.
"NGOs that were getting funds from foreign donors in Japan, Sweden and the US for activities like eradicating leprosy and running old-age homes were diverting money for
fuelling anti-nuclear protests", he said.
He said the protestors had "instigated gullible villagers when the expert committee had gone to inspect the plant", adding, the protestors have "criminal minds."
With PTI inputs