KIZHAKKAMBALAM: The violence unleashed by migrant labourers at Kizhakkambalam has become a political weapon to target Twenty20, the political outfit backed by the Kitex Group, with the CPM and the Congress blaming it for having given migrant labourers a free run in the panchayat and thereby instilling fear in the minds of local residents.
Kunnathunad MLA P V Sreenijin has said the Kitex Group cannot shy away from taking responsibility for the incident. “Kitex managing director Sabu M Jacob himself admitted that the workers who used drugs created the violence. If the workers took drugs, the company is responsible. Local residents and workers have lodged several complaints before the police and other authorities against the management for the alleged drug menace and the labour issues in the company,” he said. Despite that, the police have not taken any action so far, Sreenijin said.
“Following complaints, the labour department carried out an inspection on Sunday and has issued a notice to the management,” he pointed out. The Kitex management has maintained that the allegations are politically motivated. Sreenijin countered: “But the local residents are saying that lethal weapons are stored in the labour camps. A few years ago, the workers attempted to attack local people with weapons.”
Twenty20 had scripted a new chapter in the history of Kerala local body polls by winning three more panchayats while retaining power in Kizhakkambalam panchayat in Ernakulam district in 2020. They also fielded candidates in eight constituencies in the district in the 2021 assembly polls. However, they failed to open their account.
In a scathing attack against Twenty20, Chalakudy MP Benny Behanan alleged that the goons of Twenty20 were behind the attack at Kizhakkambalam. “An inquiry will be initiated to find out who is providing food and accommodation to these anti-social elements,” Behanan said. Former MLA and Congress leader V P Sajeendran said that allegations were levelled against the migrant workers in Kitex two years ago. “Though a complaint was lodged, the police continued its lackadaisical approach. The latest incident on Christmas night is the result of the police’s approach,” he said.
CPM branch secretary KK Surendran alleged that the labour camps house 2,000 workers. “The condition in the camps is pitiable. Rooms that can accommodate only five persons are crowded with more than ten persons. Besides, the workers often drink liquor in public on the road in front of the labour camp,” Surendran said.
Meanwhile, Kitex Group chairman Sabu M Jacob said those who are politicising an incident that happened accidentally are constantly attempting to shut the company down. “Such people have been attempting to shut down the Kitex company for the past six months. Even the Kunnathunad MLA has come out against the migrant workers in the issue. That would put thousands of migrant workers in the state under the needle of suspicion. It isn’t good for the state,” he said.