Thuruthi agitation reaches 500th day
Kannur: The agitation by the residents of the dalit colony at Thuruthi near Pappinisseri in the district, against the national highway bypass passing through their settlement, allegedly after changing the earlier alignment, reached its 500th day on Wednesday.
Inaugurating a public meeting as part of this at the venue of agitation MP Kodikunnil Suresh said that the local officials with the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) are said to be behind the change in the alignment because of some local ‘VIP’ intervention. He said that he had taken up this issue with the NHAI authorities in Delhi but they also said the same, he added.
But whatever interventions and pressures are there, they would not stop the agitation, because it would affect the life of nearly 30 families in the locality, said Nishil Kumar K, general convener of the action committee.
“Though there has been pressure on us to call off the agitation, we did not yield and now it has completed 500 days, so we are confident we will be able to fight till we get justice,” he said.
He said there are some vested interests who want the alignment to pass through this colony to displace the dalit families there, as there is a major tourism project coming up there.
“There are various reasons including casteist prejudice in the efforts to displace us, for which a curve was deliberately created in the earlier approved alignments between Velapuram and Thuruthi,” he said, adding that the CPM leadership in the district has a role in it.
But the entire dalit community there would fight against such moves, asserted the action committee. On October 13 they would meet in Thuruthi to formulate the strategy.
Apart from livelihood, the dalits there have some emotional attachment with the place, according to the residents. There is a 400-year-old temple belonging to the community, which is likely to be demolished if the present alignment is finalised, they said.
“What is the logic of changing the alignment even after the 3A notification, that too when they know that it would affect a community, their tradition and livelihood,” asked Nishil, who said development should not damage a society or the ecology.