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Music Album to Ramp up Support against Unilever

Published: 01st August 2015 05:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st August 2015 05:11 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI: ‘Kodaikanal Won’t Step Down’ cries out the music video launched on Thursday by activists and victims of mercury poisoning in the famed hill resort. The album is an attempt to expose what activists say is Unilever’s hypocrisy for the last 14 years on the “devastating effects” the careless disposal of mercury has had on the factory’s workers and the environment.

“The music video is aimed at CEO Paul Polman and his assertions that Unilever couldn’t be blamed. This is also to show that the world knows what Unilever did in Kodaikanal,” said Nityanand Jayaraman, a member of the Chennai Solidarity Group for the Ponds Hindustan Lever Ex-workers Welfare Association.

Carnatic vocalist T M Krishna and several of the movement’s well known faces, like advocate Vaigai, were present during the launch.

“While Polman has urged other corporates to follow his lead on business as a force for good, his own company has failed to provide adequate compensation to ex-workers who were exposed to toxic mercury poisoning. Unilever has also failed to clean up the mercury waste disposed by it in the Kodaikanal forest,” Jayaraman pointed out.

Written by Chennai-born rapper Sofia Ashraf, directed by Rathindran R Prasad and set to Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda,” the 3-minute video is to ramp up the campaign and take it to social media.

“This is our way of involving youngsters. The best way to do this is get on to social media and we can’t do that with pleas to sign petitions. A music video is the right thing,” Jayaraman said.

The campaign on social media will revolve on the video and ask supporters to sign the petition on Jhatkaa.org urging Unilever to own responsibility and clean up the mess.

“We already have 5000-plus signatures and the campaign will run both on ground and online for a few months. We plan activities in front of malls and a concert to highlight what people can do to help — like boycotting Unilever products,” he added.



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