Anti-SilverLine protesters up in arms against LDF
The K-Rail agitation council has decided to campaign against the government in Puthuppally where the bypoll will be held on September 5.
KOTTAYAM: On March 17, 2022, Kerala witnessed one of the fiercest protests in its recent past, against the state government’s ambitious SilverLine project, in Madappally near Changanassery. As protests against officials’ attempt to forcibly lay survey stones for the semi-high-speed rail project turned violent at Reethupally padi in Madappally, a police team led by DySP R Sreekumar applied force to remove protesters.
An image from the protest, of the police dragging a woman in front of her six-year-old daughter while the latter cried for help, had put the government in a fix, forcing it to withdraw from moves to quell protests through stringent police action. With mass protests against the project reflected in the Thrikkakara by-poll, the government retreated.
One and a half years later, when another by-election is around the corner, anti-SilverLine protests and the police action have become talking points once again.
The K-Rail agitation council has decided to campaign against the government in Puthuppally where the bypoll will be held on September 5. Madappally lies just 5-6 km away from the constituency. As per the proposal, only around 6km of the SilverLine project passes through the Vakathanam panchayat in Puthuppally constituency. Though there were no open protests here at the time, the agitation council members believe ripples of the Madappally incident will be felt in the by-election.
A meeting of the council held in Kottayam decided to campaign on the slogan ‘No vote for K-rail supporters.’ The council members said the decision was taken keeping in mind that pro-left votes in the election will be interpreted as people’s mandate for the K-Rail project.
“During Thrikkakara by-elections too, the council campaigned with the same slogan. Many public meetings were organised in the assembly constituency to discuss the government’s stand and its anti-people politics with regard to SilverLine’s implementation. The council members poured in from different districts and visited houses to campaign against the government. We will adopt this model in Puthuppally too,” said council chairman M P Baburaj.
The meeting formed a five-member committee to coordinate the activities. Besides house visits, a protest meeting will be held in Kottayam on September 1 to mark the completion of 500 days of satyagraha in Madappally.
“The council comprises leaders, activists and supporters of various political organisations. Hence, we won’t canvass for any candidate or party,” said Babu Kuttanchira, Kottayam district chairman.
- Final day for withdrawal of nomination ended on Monday
- With no one withdrawing nominations, seven candidates are in the fray
- Candidates and their symbols are: Chandy Oommen (INC)- palm; Jaick C Thomas (CPM), - hammer, sickle, and star; Lijin Lal (BJP) - lotus; Luke Thomas (AAP ) - broom; P K Devdas (independent)- jackfruit; Shaji (independent)- battery torch; Santhosh Pulikkal (independent) - autorickshaw