Former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court Ajit Prakash Shah on Monday slammed the way in which the Tamil Nadu police had handled the protests against the upcoming Kudankulam nuclear power plant, and said he would forward the issue to the National Human Rights Commission.
"I would take steps to take the Kudankulam protestors issue to the NHRC. You [the state government] cannot file sedition charges against people for protesting against nuclear energy," Shah said in Chennai while presiding over a public hearing organised by the Chennai Solidarity Group for Kudankulam Struggle.
"Instead of addressing the issues, the police were using force, which is not in the interests of democracy. It is high time that the state government and the protestors sit for a dialogue. The police are under the impression that they can suppress protests through force. But the protests do go on.
"I am surprised that the State Human Rights Commission has not taken it up," Shah said.
Shah is part of a three member independent jury appointed by the non-government organisation, which has been conducting public hearings and collecting testimonies from residents of Idinthakarai village (closest to the plant site) and journalists who have been covering the developments. The jury includes Geeta Ramaseshan, senior advocate at the Madras High Court, and Prof Prabha Kalvimani.
Criticising a top intelligence official for allegedly warning a university in Tirunelveli against conducting a debate on the issue, Shah said, "When the country is celebrating 60 years of Parliament, intelligence agencies are interfering with academics and tell them what they should discuss."