As protest rages, GAIL resumes work

Even as the waves of the agitation, launched by the local people against the GAIL pipeline project, continued to spread on Thursday, the GAIL authorities resumed gas pipeline laying

Published: 03rd November 2017 01:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd November 2017 11:40 AM   |  A+A-

Anti-GAIL protestors set fire to tyres put up by the police as barricade at Eranjimav Mukkam Arecode Road in Kozhikode on Thursday | A Sanesh

Express News Service

MUKKAM, KOZHIKODE : Even as the waves of the agitation, launched by the local people against the GAIL pipeline project, continued to spread on Thursday, the GAIL authorities resumed gas pipeline laying works at Iranjimavu here under blanket police protection. The hartal called by the UDF on Thursday in Thiruvambady Assembly constituency and Keezhuparambu panchayat protesting the alleged police brutality was total with the agitators blocking roads and pelting stones at the police.Nine people have been arrested and cases have been filed against 300 people in connection with the incidents.

North Zone DGP Rajesh Dewan convened a high-level meeting of police officers at Mukkam to evaluate the situation. He also visited the spot where the pipe laying works were stalled due to the protests.Protesters pelted stones at the police party along Mukkam- Areekode Road and also at Nellikkaparambu prompting a lathi charge. 

Apart from the local police, Kerala Armed Police-II, Malabar Special Police and Rapid Action Force have been deployed in the region to bring the situation under control. Cashes between the police and locals were reported after the police started removing burnt tyres and boulders placed by the protesters on the roads. The protesters alleged the police barged into houses to nab people who pelted stones at vehicles and the police. The police said the main protesters were absconding and only a couple of youngsters were leading the agitation. 

Janakeeya Samara Samithi Chairman Gafoor Kurumaden said the samithi didn’t have any role in the violent incidents which took place during the protest. “A few people are trying to sabotage the protest which has been non-violent for the last 32 days. The police should find the real culprits who unleash violence. We have decided to strengthen our agitation. A march led by Congress leaders V M Sudheeran, M K Raghavan and M I Shanavaz will be taken out to the project site on Friday,” he said. As many as 33 people were in jail in connection with the protests. “We are getting support from the UDF, Solidarity, Welfare Party and the SDPI,” said Gafoor.

Don’t try to crush people’s protest: Chennithala
Kannur: If the government tries to crush the people’s protest against the GAIL pipeline project at Mukkam, the UDF will not remain a mute spectator,  warned Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala at Payyannur on Thursday.  He reiterated UDF’s support to the anti-GAIL protests while speaking at a reception accorded to Padayorukkam, the UDF campaign against the anti-people policies of the state and Union governments at Gandhi Maidan in Payyannur on Thursday. 

Police brutality against anti-GAIL protesters flayed
Kasargod: Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chenniathala condemned the “police brutality” against anti-GAIL pipeline campaigners at Mukkom in Kozhikode.  “The government’s attitude towards the protest is condemnable. It should stop using police to oppress protests,” he told reporters in Kasargod on Thursday. Clarifying the UDF’s stand, Chennithala said the front was not against “development”, an euphemism for the pipeline project, but the government should address the fears of the residents.

Govt won’t go back on GAIL project: Minister
T’Puram: Industries Minister A C Moideen has categorically stated the government will not go back on the GAIL pipeline project from Kochi to Mangaluru.  Alleging a smear campaign was being unleashed to confuse a section of the people, the minister said those who oppose the project are sabotaging the development of the state. “Some people  are trying to gain political mileage out of the issue. People who want development will recognise them.” 

Don’t suppress public agitations: VS to govt
Warning the Left government of being more cautious while dealing with strikes, CPM veteran VS Achuthanandan has stated suppressing public agitations using police force is not in keeping with the Left policy. In a statement issued here, the Administrative Reforms Commission chairman asked the government to urgently intervene in the agitations led by those who lost their land at Vizhinjam and other places. The government should review its earlier stance that discussions would be held only if agitations are withdrawn, VS said.

At a time when the government has been adopting a strong stance against those who go on strike against developmental initiatives such as  the Vizhinajm port project and GAIL pipeline at Mukkam, the veteran leader’s statement has put the Left front in a tight spot. Soon after the Vizhinjam strike began, VS had gone to visit the agitators. However, he had to return, as per police advice.

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