VAYALKKILIKAL’S AGITATION : Farmers From Nandigram To Visit Keezhattur.
KANNUR: Cutting across political affiliations leaders and activists converged at Keezhattur in the district in solidarity with the agitation of ‘Vayalkilikal’, a collective of the residents, against a planned NH bypass cutting across their paddy fields.
Challenging CPM in its stronghold, nearly 2,000 people marched towards Keezhattur from Taliparamba on Sunday to express their solidarity to the Vayalkkilikal agitation against the proposed bypass through paddy fields.With environmentalists and supporters of Vayalkkilikal from across the state thronging the Keezhattur fields, and the passion and fervour expressed by leaders of various outfits, it eclipsed the CPM’s previous day’s march, which was rather a warning to the Vayalkkilikal.
Amid deafening cheers, Vayalkkilikal leader Suresh Keezhattur read the proclamation to the gathering. He underscored the agitators’ commitment to the environment they are living in and swore they would not allow anybody to harm it in the name of development.Nambradath Janaki, 84, one of the frontline warriors of Vayalkkilikal, inaugurated the march. Keezhattur Aikyadardhya Samara Samithi chairman D Surendranath presided over the function.
Rajya Sabha MP and actor Suresh Gopi, who was present, said it was the CPM stand which deteriorated the situation.“A party which has grown through various strkes is trying to suppress another strike here. It’s their attitude towards the agitation which flamed it up,” said Suresh Gopi.
Congress leader V M Sudheeran said not even an inch of paddy field could be conceded for development. “National Highway should come. But while implementing such projects, the government should consider the general feeling of the people in an area. Here, the NHAI did not do any social impact assessment. They did not do any environmental impact study either. We are facing a scorching summer. Drought will hit the state soon,” said Sudheeran.
BJP leader B Gopalakrishnan said farmers from Nandigram will reach Keezhattur soon.
Environmentalist C R Neelakantan said the CPM has forgotten how to strike. Now, it has become the need of the hour to teach them how to engage in a strike. Keezhattur is the answer to those who blindly support development. The people will not let those in power to indulge in doing wrong things, he added.
Many leaders, including P C George, and environmentalists, spoke at the protest function.
With the administration particular about avoiding any untoward incident in connection with the march and meeting thereafter, the whole area was under tight security cover. Policemen were deployed at several points, especially Taliparamba, from where the march began at 2.45pm.As the CPM decided to keep away from the ‘Kaval Pura’ they had set up on the day before, things became easier for the police and the march proceeded smoothly towards the Keezhattur paddy fields.
Many of the activists who reached the venue of the agitation on Sunday preferred to travel in the Mangalurubound Intercity Express, converting the train to ‘Keezhattur Express’ till it passed the Kannur station.
Activists from Ernakulam, Thrissur, Malappuram, Kozhikode and Vadakara boarded the train, responding to a call in the social media. Agitators arrived at each railway station in procession shouting slogans supporting the Vayalkilikal. “The idea was mooted by one of the environmentalists on Facebook. Scores of people responded to the call. The timing of the train was also convenient for the people to reach Thaliparamba by noon,” said Rajeesh Kollakandi, an activist from Vadakara.
The idea of ‘Kerala Marches to Keezhattur’ dawned on the activists after the temporary shed erected by the agitators was torched allegedly by the CPM workers on March 14. “If the incident had not happened the agitation would have been confined to the village itself,” said K Sunil Kumar, a member of the solidarity committee formed to help the Vayalkilikal.
The march to Keezhattur was earlier planned to be held on March 18, but was postponed after the suggestion from the Vayalkilikal. “The message was communicated through social media,” said Sunil Kumar. He said the future course of action will be decided after the meeting of the committees involved