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More time to evict encroachers

Special Correspondent

Court criticises MLAs' action

Kochi: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Wednesday granted the State government time till August 31 to implement the High Court directive to evict encroachers from certain land in Wayanad.

The Bench comprising Justice K.M. Joseph and Justice M.L. Joseph Francis passed the order on a government petition seeking to extend the time given for evicting the encroachers from the land in the possession of George Pothen and Harrisons Malayalam Limited.

When the petition came up for hearing, the court viewed video footages of the incidents in which the MLAs and others prevented the police and other government officials from evicting the encroachers.

The court after playing them on the laptop orally criticised the action of the MLAs. The court observed that the representatives of the people were seen shouting slogans and hurling threats at the police and other officials.

The Bench orally observed that one could understand if a common man resorted to such action. But the actions of the MLAs could not be approved of. The court also said that they were not fully convinced of the reasons given by the Advocate-General for not evicting the encroachers.

In response to an earlier directive to explain the steps taken to evict the encroachers, Advocate-General C.P. Sudhkara Prasad submitted that the police could not use force because of peculiar nature of the terrain.

He said the wind flow direction was an important factor while firing tear gas canisters. As the wind was blowing against the police at the time of operation, the police could not use them. The use of lathy was also difficult. The severe resistance on the part of the agitators gathered from different part of the district, including the two MLAs, forced the police to stop the eviction process at Vellaramkunnu. The police did not arrest the agitators to avoid a law and order situation. As for the eviction process on the land of Harrisons Malayalam, there was no obstruction whatsoever in the area.

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