Hyderabad, March 7: Faced with strong protests from local people over the Kudankulam
nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu, the Central government has thrown a blanket ban on
Fukushima survivors from participating in nuclear awareness campaigns in the country.
The Indian government has revoked the visa granted to Mrs Maya Kobayashi, a Fukushima
survivor, who was scheduled to visit India to participate in campaigns being organized by
Green Peace. Fukushima nuclear survivors have been visiting different countries sharing
their experience of the nuclear disaster in Japan last year.
Of the 11 countries, India was the only country to deny visa to a Fukushima survivor.
“In what could be interpreted as a brazen attempt to stifle criticism, the Indian
government has cancelled a visa granted to Mrs. Maya Kobayashi from Japan. She was
scheduled to visit India to share her experiences with communities, who will be affected
by the proposed nuclear power plants,” said a Green Peace statement here on Wednesday.
The Indian embassy had granted Mrs. Kobayashi a business visa on February 15 with the
information that she had been invited by Greenpeace India to attend events and meet
people. “The fact that the government is going to the extent of cancelling legitimately
granted visas clearly shows that they don’t want people from Japan to come to India and
share their experience with the people of India. Five survivors from Fukushima visited
around a dozen countries and India is the only country to revoke the visa.” said Karuna
Raina, nuclear campaigner for Greenpeace India.
Mrs. Kobayashi was living in Fukushima city on March 11, 2011, when the disaster at the
Fukushima Daichi plant took place. As the disaster unfolded, she helped save children
from radiation as part of a network of local mothers. As it became clear that Fukushima
city was badly exposed to radiation, Ms. Kobayashi and her husband decided to leave the
city for Yonezawa, where they now live in temporary housing.
"I got a call from the Indian Embassy earlier, informing me that my visa is cancelled.
Today they sent me an official letter, informing me about the same. I was looking forward
to coming to India and sharing my experiences with people who are fighting against the
dangers of nuclear energy,” said Mrs. Kobayashi.
Ms. Kobayashi was due to interact with community members at proposed nuclear power plant
“The government is stifling free speech and democracy. The people living near those
proposed project sites were keen to hear from Ms. Kobayashi as to what transpired and is
still transpiring in Fukushima, where a disaster at what was considered one of the
world’s safest nuclear plants has impacted hundreds of thousands of people and led to
billions of dollars in clean up and liability costs,” said Samit Aich, Executive
Director, Greenpeace India.
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