Activist S P Udayakumar, who spearheaded the campaign against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) as the convenor of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), was stopped and interrogated at Terminal-3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Tuesday. Udayakumar was on his way to Kathmandu to attend a UN consultation on human rights and was eventually not allowed to travel by the immigration authorities in Delhi, with a warning that he should “not try to travel out of the country”.
“I feel my human rights have been violated systematically by the state and I feel very frustrated in this land of democracy and freedom,” Udayakumar told The Indian Express over the phone.
He was to board a Jet Airways flight 9W260 to Kathmandu at 3.05 pm. Instead, he was questioned for over four hours by the immigration authorities and was allowed to leave the airport at about 7 pm, he said.
A senior immigration official told The Indian Express that Udayakumar’s detention was a part of the official procedure as a “look out circular (LOC) has been issued against him by the SP of Tirunelveli (in Tamil Nadu)”.
Udayakumar has against him 380-odd cases under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 19 charges related to attempt to murder, 16 charges related to sedition, and 16 charges related to waging or attempting to wage war. His passport had already been impounded by the Tamil Nadu police.
“I came to Delhi on my way to Kathmandu, where I was going to attend a consultation on human rights. The immigration authorities asked for my passport, and I told them about my cases and impounded passport. I gave my election card. I was asked to wait at the office and was subsequently questioned for over four hours,” Udayakumar said.
The PMANE has been fighting against the KNPP in southern Tamil Nadu, and was recently in news when the Prime Minister’s Office charged that certain foreign-funded NGOs were behind the agitation. Earlier in June this year, Udayakumar — who is a US returned teacher-activist-academic — had taken on the allegations against the Kudankulam anti-nuclear movement.
He also joined the Aam Aadmi Party in march this year and contested from Kanyakumari.
On Tuesday, Udayakumar was let off by the immigration authorities with a warning that he would “not try to travel out of the country”.