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Anti-nuclear activist complains against Republic TV, says he, his family being harassed, facing security threat

By Our Representative
Top anti-nuclear activist SP Udayakumar of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) has complained to the News Broadcasters Association and the Press Council of India that well-known journalist Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV has been harassing him and his family.
In a letter, released on Thursday, he says, Goswami and his colleagues Shweta Kothari reached his home at Nagercoil on April 8 and introduced to him as “Shweta Sharma”, a “research scholar” from the Cardiff University in the UK, and sought help with her dissertation research. She was accompanied by her “local friend” Sanjeev.
Leaving after getting books, she requested Udayakumar on the next day “to stop by her hotel room as she had a few more questions”, telling him that “one of her British professors” was very keen on supporting struggle against the Koodankulam nuclear power plant.
On being told that the PNAME did not accept money from foreigners and its movement had “no bank account”, Kothari alias Sharma asked him if there was “any other way of donating money” to the movement.
On being further told that his personal account was “frozen” and that even their “party account could not receive foreign funds”, Udayakumar says, the Republic TV journalist was informed that donations could be given to his parents.
“I also mentioned clearly that I would give proper receipt and the money will be accounted for. I also informed her that we were not interested in getting foreign funds”, Udayakumar claims, adding, he was surprised that on June 20, “a so-called sting operation on him was telecast at 2 pm.”
Anti-nuclear protest off Tamil Nadu coast
Among the allegations made included that the struggle against the Koodankulam nuclear power project was funded by the Church with foreign donations, says Udayakumar, adding, “I took part in the very same panel discussion on Republic TV and clarified what had transpired. But Goswami was so abhorrent, abrasive, and even abusive.”
Pointing out that as he was taking part in the discussion from Kumbakonam town, where he was attending an agitation, Udayakumar says, “Republic TV reporter Sanjeev and three other men were standing in front of my home at Nagercoil from 2 pm till 11 pm that night harassing my parents aged 85 and 82 respectively, my wife and school-going son.”
“Sanjeev and his colleagues were hounding my family with their high-handed behaviour”, says Udayakumar, adding, “They were loitering about my house for hours together, talking to people and shopkeepers around my home and defaming me and my family.”
“Sanjeev and his team showed up at my home again in the morning of June 21, and started harassing my family all over again”, says Udayakumar, adding, “When my aged father objected to his ruthless behaviour, he fraudulently reported on his TV that I personally had scolded him.”
Clarifies Udayakumar, “I came to know about the whole incident when I came home in the evening”, he adds, “Sanjeev’s and his gang’s sole intention was to provoke me in some manner.”
Accusing Goswami’s TV of causing “mental agony and suffering” to him and his family, Udayakumar says, he fears safety and security of his family following “Goswami’s slanderous campaign” for three continuous days.
Calling it a “desperate attempt to raise the TRP rate”, Udayakumar says, “This kind of indecent and abusive behavior of an anchor and reporters is unacceptable”, adding, “The Republic TV and their reporters are crossing all limits and causing so much mental agony and suffering to me and my entire family”, even as seeking intervention from the twin authorities.

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