The Kudankulam agitation has been on for 400 days now, and Superintendent of police Vijayendra Bidari Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu has been tracking, controlling and following it closely.
He is a second generation Indian Police Service officer. His father, Shankar Mahadev Bidari retired as the director general of police of Karnataka. He is very thoughtful when he answers questions and politically correct, and knows exactly which questions to answer and which to refuse politely.
Excerpts from an interview with A Ganesh Nadar
How many cases are there against the Kudankulam protestors and how many are accused?
There are a little over 200 cases, and 300 named accused.
What are the reasons for filing cases under the Seditions Act?
Such cases have been registered because of specific complaints, information and evidence.
What about waging war against the Nation?
We have information and evidence to prove our case in court. It is under investigation and it's not good to discuss it with the media. An investigation and collection of evidence is on.
People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy convener S P Udaykumar says that over 30 people were involved in that particular case but summons were served only on him and his wife Meera. Why this discrimination?
That is not true. Summons have been served to all the accused.
We saw only Meera at the court and Udaykumar was declared absconding?
Everybody has to appear in court on different dates. The court does not call everyone at the same time.
Everyone knows where Udaykumar is; how come the summons was served to his father?
This person is hiding behind women and children. We do not want to harm innocent people. We will make sure the innocent are not harmed. We are tracking him and justice will catch up with him soon.
I know it's not in your jurisdiction but it's the same struggle. When there was an agitation going on in Idinthakarai, the police shot dead a fisherman 45 kilometre away in the next district. Why?
You will have to ask the concerned officials in that district. I cannot answer this question.
There have been over a thousand cases registered but we have not heard of any chargesheets, no summons or court cases?
There are several cases for different reasons; we have submitted the entire list to the high
Court. The courts are seized of the matter; now they will decide how to proceed.
You are also responsible for the protestors. On Sunday, some of them will stand in knee deep and others in neck deep water. What steps are you taking to protect them?
They should go through legal means to protest. As the high court has stated that the first two reactors can start they should appeal to the Supreme Court. Their protest should not affect the normal lives of other people.
When 144 has been imposed they should not take the law into their own hands and do what they please. I request them not to enter the sea as they are risking their own lives.
(He then showed us the order of the high court that says that unites 1 and 2 in Kudankulam can be started)
Jal Satyagraha and fasting are political tools of protests. How come you have not utilised the services of the Panchayat presidents/members of Legislative Assembly/members of Parliament to talk to the protestors?
The Panchayat presidents of Chettikulam, Kudankulam and Vijaypathi support the nuclear plant but these people do not listen to them.
Udaykumar is an activist and not a criminal. Do you agree?
He has instigated people to violence. He has intimidated people. He has criminalised the whole protest.
The prime minister, the minister of state in the Prime Minister's Office and the home minister have all stated at different times that this agitation is funded by a foreign country (the United Sttes). Where is the evidence?
I do not want to comment on that issue
What action are you going to take against the church which is openly supporting the agitation?
After Fukushima (in Japan) do you feel that any nuclear plant is safe?
It's a technical issue. I am not qualified to comment on that. The Central and State committees have declared it safe.
Has the Kudankulam agitation kept you away from your regular duties?
Not at all! We are attending to all our duties as usual.