THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The #SaveAlappad campaign is catching up in the state capital. Activists, fishermen, rider and college students among others are coming out in solidarity with the village which is in the spotlight for the people's protest against sand mining.
According to the villagers, Alappad which had boasted of 89 square kilometres of land in 1968 has shrunk to 7.6 km this year.
"The future generation should know of this beautiful village in Kollam. It should not fade away," said Johny Chekitta from Puthiyathura.
The tag line is the same for everyone who is supporting the cause- 'Help those who helped the state during the floods', indicating the fishermen community from Alappad were among the first to respond to the rescue mission when the floods hit the state last year.
Coastal Warriors from Poonthura
In order to show solidarity with the cause, 11 persons from Poonthura coastal region journeyed to Alappad in a boat on Wednesday. They travelled via boats owing to the two-day strike. "We started the journey at 11 am and reached Alappad by 4.30 pm on Wednesday. The protesters were waiting for us on the shore. They expressed gratitude to us for showing solidarity with their cause," said Johny Chekitta, who is in-charge of the journey.
The seven-member group was galvanised during the floods to mobilise fishermen and boats from Poonthura coast. Several fishermen have joined the cause.
"I went to Alappad on the 62nd day of protest and only a very few people were present. However, the 70th day, the number of protesters has increased. The protesters did not expect their cause would become this viral. They are very positive," he said.
Manoj another member recalled the journey. "The engine stopped working in between. We halted in Anchuthengu where we replaced the engine," he said.
According to the members, the rate of kerosene used as fuel for boats is expensive forcing them to look for funding to continue the cause from Poonthura coast. "The team will be going to Alappad again on January 19. The rescue members who actively participated from the coastal areas of Mariyanagar, Vettukad, Poonthura, Veli, Valiyathura and Beemapally will take part in the solidarity journey," he said.
On Friday, Manaveeyam Veedhi will witness an array of cultural programmes as part of the Alappad campaign. Nizhalattam, a city-based forum of people working in film, documentary, short film, photography and designing, has organised a 'Protest Evening' at Manaveeyam Veedi on Friday under the title 'Nizhalattam-Kalayum Pradhirodhavum'. "We have organised programmes including an open canvas painting titled 'Prathishedhavara'. Poems will also be recited to express our solidarity," said Ratheesh Rohini, one of the organisers of the show.
Commenting on Fisheries Minister Mercykutty Ammas reaction on the protest, Veena, a member of Manaveeyam Arppo Arthavam group said the issues must be addressed from a human point of view rather than addressing it on a political level.