Police Brutality Against Agitators At Kathikudam
21 July, 2013
At least 20 people, including women and children were injured when police attacked peaceful protesters agitating against Nitta Gelatin India Limited (NGIL) at Kathikudam, in Thrissur district of Kerala in South India. Police went on a rampage and ransacked houses of villagers and damaged vehicles parked in the area. According to eyewitnesses the police attacked the protesters without any provocation.
The Nitta Gelatin India Limited Action Council was on a hunger strike for over a month. The grama sabha had decided to remove the pipes that were pumping untreated effluence to the nearby river today. A large police was stationed in the area. Although the removal of the pipes did not happen as planned, the police started arresting the protesters. When the agitators resisted the arrest, police started beating up people indiscriminately. Protesters alleged that the police prevented ambulances to reach the place to take the injured people to hospital. Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, home minister of Kerala, has ordered an enquiry into the incident.
The NGIL produces ossein and limed ossein, intermediaries in gelatin manufacture. Ossein gelatin is derived from de-greased, hard animal bones that are washed and then leached with dilute hydrochloric acid.
The village people are facing huge health impacts on their lives. During the past 10 years more than 60 people have died of cancer. Asthma, Bronchitis and skin diseases are spreading in the area. The company is using 6290200* litres of water per day from Chalakudi river and pumping the waste in to the river and surrounding areas.
The struggle has been on for 30 years, but could not sustain because of the pressure of the company and the authorities. After a period of inactivity, on March 2008 an action council was formed. The initial demand from the people was to stop the pollution. But after so many promises, the company keept on polluting the area and now the people are demanding that the company should be shut down.
* The company claims that the consumption of water has been brought down to below 30,00,000 by October, 2012 and currently consumes less than 28,00,000 litres of water.
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