An indefinite sit-in protest by over 50 endosulfan vicitms from Kasaragod, outside Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s official residence, demanding adequate treatment and compensation, entered the second day on Monday.
Though there was an assurance from the government that the Chief Minister would speak to the protesters at 12 noon on Tuesday, the endosulfan victims decided to continue their agitation till their demands were met. The protesters, who are mostly women and children, also include five permanently bedridden victims. The demands of the agitators include widening the scope of the endosulfan package beyond the 11 panchayats in Kasaragod where it is currently being implemented.
They have also demanded rejection of the Justice Ramachandran Committee report and waiver of loans availed of by endosulfan victims.
“Out of 4,182 endosulfan victims officially identified by the government, compensation has reached only half of them and that too only a fraction of what has been laid down by the National Human Rights Commission,” said
Ambalathara Kunjikrishnan, convener of the Endosulfan Peeditha Janakeeya Munnani.
“We demand that the scope of the endosulfan package be extended to all 27 panchayats and three municipalities where the victims live. A medical camp held recently had found symptoms of endosulfan poisoning in 1,318 new cases. But the findings have not been made public,” Kunjikrishnan alleged.
Opposition Leader V S Achuthanandan visited the endosulfan vicitms and expressed solidarity with their stir. “It is the inefficiency of the government that has forced these people to come all the way from Kasaragod to voice their protest,” he said.