CHERUTHONI (IDUKKI): Gomathy Augustine, leader of Pombilai Orumai, a collective of women workers of the plantations in Idukki, jumped onto the election bandwagon, filing her nomination to contest an independent in Idukki Lok Sabha constituency on Thursday - the last date for filing the nominations.
"Our fight for sustenance continues. The issues we raised, when we launched the 69-day struggle in September 2015, are yet to be addressed. We will continue the agitation till all plantation workers, tribals and the downtrodden are provided land, house and decent wages. Though the plantation authorities had offered a 30 per cent hike in wages., the workers are getting only Rs 320 per day. They are made to stay in crammed and dilapidated houses. The police and the partymen have been harassing me. But I will continue my agitation, she told Express.
According to Gomathy, organisations like DHRM, Bhoo Damrakshana Samithy, SC and ST Dalit Movement have extended support to her. "We will call a convention on April 9 and representatives of all these organisations will participate in it, " she said. Activist M Geethanandan will inaugurate the convention.
Gomathy said the CPM and the police have been targeting her ever since the Munnar protest.
"The house owner asked me to vacate as police were visiting our house every day. They threatened me of dire consequences. I was forced to stage a protest in front of the Munnar police station on December 31 demanding to allow me to live a life of dignity. Now they have foisted a case against our workers Pazhaniamma and Chellathai. There are four cases pending against me, " she said.
Gomathi said many politicians approached her with a request to withdraw the nomination. "I am contesting to assert the rights of the plantation workers to lead a dignified life and I will not withdraw," she said.