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Solidarity forum stages dharna

Staff Reporter

Protest against ‘attack’ on vehicles carrying rights activist

Photo: Leju Kamal

In the forefront: Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, Metropolitan, addressing Chengara Land Struggle Solidarity Forum workers at the Pathanamthitta Collectorate gate on Monday. —

PATHANAMTHITTA: Chengara Land Struggle Solidarity Forum leaders have alleged that the district administration and the police are abetting the goondaism unleashed by the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) through plantation workers on the year-long ‘peaceful’ land struggle at Chengara.

They were addressing a dharna before the Mini Civil Station here on Monday in protest against an alleged attack on Chengara-bound vehicles carrying invitees for the first anniversary of the land struggle at Athumbamkulam on Sunday.

Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, metropolitan of the Niranom diocese of Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, inaugurated the dharna. In his address, the metropolitan called upon the government to resolve the land struggle launched by landless poor families at Chengara without any delay. (The families have been occupying a part of the Harrisons Malayalam Limited’s estate for the last one year demanding land.) He said denial of permission for human rights activists like Swapan Ganguly and C.R. Neelakantan to proceed to Chengara to take part in the anniversary celebrations organised by the Sadhu Jana Vimochana Samyukta Vedi was grossly undemocratic.

The forum’s plan to take the metropolitan to Chengara to inaugurate the valedictory function of the two-day anniversary celebrations was opposed by the police on security grounds. He led a march to the Collectorate seeking the Collector’s permission to visit Chengara. The police blocked the march at the Collectorate entrance. He said he would visit Chengara in the next few days.

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