Tension as SilverLine protest turns violent near Changanassery

Officials arrived in the area with a huge police force in the morning to lay the survey stones.

Published: 18th March 2022 06:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th March 2022 06:32 AM   |  A+A-

A woman protester is removed by police officers at Madappally in Changanassery on Thursday | Express

By Express News Service

KOTTAYAM: Protesters clashed with police several times over the laying of survey stones for the SilverLine project at Madappally near Changanassery in Kottayam, leaving many, including women, injured on Thursday.

Officials arrived in the area with a huge police force in the morning to lay the survey stones. Protesters formed a human wall around the site to prevent them from entering the area triggering tension. Alleging stone pelting by the protesters, authorities withdrew. However, they returned soon and tried to move ahead with the help of police, which led to heated arguments between the police officers and the agitators.

High drama followed with some women carrying kerosene jars in their hands raising suicide threat. Sensing trouble, police swung into action and started removing protesters. A few  women who refused to cooperate were dragged out of the area.  Following this, activists of UDF and BJP came in support of the protesters, which further escalated the tension. As the crowd refused to disperse despite repeated warnings, police resorted to cane-charging. Several people, including Kerala Congress leaders Joseph M Puthussery and V J Lally, SUCI (C) leader Mini K Philip, were injured.

Meanwhile, police arrested some agitators including women which led to another round of protests. As the police shifted arrested persons to Thrikkodithanam police station, the rest of the crowd took out a march to the police station demanding their release. Police blocked them and this led to another round of clashes. Police refused the demand of the protesters and registered cases against those arrested under various charges including rioting and using criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging duty. 

Women and children protest while police
attempt to disperse K-Rail protesters at
Madappally in Changanassery
on Thursday | Express

Ongoing process part of social impact study: K-Rail

The UDF workers staged a blockade in front of the station till the release of those in custody and later in the evening. Later they also organised a protest meeting at Thengana Junction. Tension prevailed in the region even late in the evening.

As the protests subsided, the officials laid eight survey stones along a stretch of about 100 metres. Meanwhile, K-Rail authorities, in a statement, said the government order on acquiring land will be issued only after getting final clearance from the Railway Board.

“The ongoing process is part of the preliminary proceedings to assess the social impact and determine the requirements of the project. The social impact assessment is being done under the laws ensuring right to reasonable compensation, transparency and rehabilitation in the event of land acquisition.”

“When the govt decides to acquire land for a public project, a social impact study should be conducted in the areas where the project is implemented. As part of land should be identified and marked before the study. This will be done in consultation with local self-government institutions. These proceedings are being initiated at present,” the statement said.

Hartal in Changanassery
UDF and BJP have called a hartal in the Changanassery assembly constituency on Friday in protest against the police action in Madappally. The hartal will be from 6am to 6pm. Vehicles will not be blocked and essential services are exempted


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