There I was standing, amongst the 400-odd people who had gathered at India Gate, overwhelmed by mixed emotions. The energy and enthusiasm was contagious. Just weeks after the triple tragedy struck humanity in Japan, people from all walks of life in Delhi came together to show support and solidarity with the victims of Japan, and protest against nuclearisation.
Students, human right supporters, eminent citizens, trade union members and representatives, representatives of religious groups, voluntary organisations and general public were carrying candles and placards with messages of solidarity for the victims in Japan. At the same time there were messages which questioned the credibility of our own government. Are they misleading people by claiming that the nuclear reactors in India are safe from natural calamities?
The people who gathered there wrote messages on a white cloth for the people of Japan. The messages were later handed over to Mr. Kojiro Uchiama, Principal Councillor of the Japanese Embassy who promised to convey the solidarity message to his people back home.
Emotions ran high at the vigil. People shouted slogans, sang songs and some of them gave speeches as well. Yashveer Arya from Fatehabad in Haryana, where land is being acquired by the government to build a nuclear power plant, was emotional when he shared the plight of the people who have been opposing the plant for the past nine months. They have been sitting in front of the secretariat for 220 days, protesting and asking for the proposed plant to be scraped but the government has simply ignored them.
The general and perhaps the most valid concern at the vigil was that Japan, with its advanced technology was finding it difficult to cope with the devastating effects of nuclear radiation. One cannot begin to think of such a tragedy happening in India.
This vigil ended with a decision to hold a protest march to the Parliament on Friday, March 25th. It is the last day of the Parliament and all of us are going to demand a moratorium on nuclear in the country.
I will be there at the Anti Nuclear Parliament Protest March. Join us if you are in Delhi. More and more people saying no to nuclear will help make the demand stronger. For those not in Delhi, watch this space to find out how it all went.