Demise of the signature tree 

A signature tree (oppumaram), which stood as a symbol of Kerala’s vigorous protest against the endosulfan tragedy, was felled in Kasaragod.

Published: 14th May 2022 06:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th May 2022 06:53 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI:  A signature tree (oppumaram), which stood as a symbol of Kerala’s vigorous protest against the endosulfan tragedy, was felled in Kasaragod. The tree shot to fame in April 2011, when the Geneva conference discussed a global ban on insecticide. Endosulfan Victims Support Aid Group (Envisage) was formed in Kasaragod and a tree on the private bus stand premises was selected to symbolise the protest. 

The signature campaign lasted from April 15 to 30, 2011. Environmental activists, social workers and writers from across the state united under it and signed their names on the cloth that covered the tree. When the Supreme Court banned the sale and usage of endosulfan in the country, the protest was announced a success. 

But now, the historical tree which stands as a reminder of the trials and tribulations, is being cut down to facilitate the work of the national highway, said Prof M A Rahman, who was a pioneer in the fight. “Many writers had come here and expressed their solidarity with endosulfan victims. K R Meera had said that when the mothers of Kasaragod question the authorities, she had to join them. M T Vasudevan Nair called the fight a strike for identity.

A book titled ‘Oppumaram - Envisage Rekhakal’ is in the pipeline and it describes the timeline of endosulfan tragedy and its ban in the country,” said Rahman. The tree, however, didn’t last long enough to see the first step of victory of the endosulfan protest. Of the 6,728 victims of the insecticide tragedy, 3,714 were supposed to get a compensation of `5 lakh. On May 5, the department of social justice transferred `5 lakh each to eight victims. But the tree was cut down a few days before that.

Oppumaram in Kasaragod, a significant landmark in the endosulfan protest that saw the participation of activists, writers and political leaders, was cut down to facilitate the laying of a national highway 


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