Fact Finding Team Confirms Police Brutality In Kathikudam
By Fact Finding Team
07 August, 2013
Interim report of the Kathikudam Fact Finding Commission
THRISSUR, 30 and 31 July 2013
The news of police action against those agitating against the Nitta Gelatine India Ltd.,(NGIL, formally known as Kerala Chemicals and Proteins Ltd.) plant on 21 July 2013 in Kathikudam, Kerala, shocked the members of the civil society of the country. Various organisations across the country have come together in the form of this Commission to look into the matter. The team visited the site of the agitation of the NGIL Action Committee and some of the spots which are affected by the pollution of NGIL. The team also interacted with the affected residents and the members of Kadukutty Gram Panchayat to get a better insight into the pollution that the villagers have been alleging and the event that transpired on 21 July 2013.
The following are the preliminary observations made by the team:
1. That it is inescapable that the villagers around the plant are the victims of toxic pollution being indiscriminately caused by the NGIL plant. This is evident not merely from the oral testimonies of the villagers but is corroborated by the numerous independent reports and tests conducted by the State Pollution Control Board, which are in the possession of the team members.
2. That the events that transpired on 21 July 2013 is nothing less than a cowardly attack by the police on a peaceful and democratic protest of the villagers which was conducted in a clinical, premeditated and ruthless fashion wherein those participating in the protest including women and young children were mercilessly beaten both on the spot of the agitation, in-transit and while they were illegally detained at the police station. An atmosphere of terror was created, the traces of which were even lingering today and is evident from the testimonies of scores of men, women and children whom the commission spoke to.
3. That the lathi charge was carried after 3.30 pm when a majority of the 2500 strong protestors had dispersed and a mere 200 protestors remained and were winding up the demonstrations at the factory entrance. This unprovoked attack was carried out without any orders from the competent officials, without any warning and by a police force that was largely under the influence of alcohol.
4. That the police officials chased the protestors from the site of the agitation to their homes, verbally abused them, vandalised their properties and vehicles, and looted valuables like cell phones, cameras, jewellery, cash etc.
5. That the actions of the police are in blatant violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution of the country and their human rights. The victims of this heinous assault are entitled to an unconditional apology and monetary compensation.
6. That the struggle being undertaken under the aegis of the NGIL Action Council is a just struggle for a right to life guaranteed under the Constitution and a fulfilment of the fundamental duties under Article 51(g). In fact, the residents are being brutalised for upholding the law and discharging the duties of the Pollution Control Board and the State Government.
In light of the above, we are constrained to issue the following interim recommendations:
1. That the State Government to issue an unconditional apology to the residents and their NGIL Action Council immediately;
2. Take immediate action against the errant police officials responsible for this attack;
3. Compensate for all the physical and mental trauma caused and medical cost still being incurred by all those who have been subject to violence during the lathi charge;
4. Take all necessary steps to ensure that all the property stolen by the police are returned to their rightful owners;
5. Take immediate action on the ongoing pollution from NGIL;
6. That the brutal attack on the peaceful demonstrators, the injuries caused to them, the theft and destruction of their property clearly validates their suspicion that NGIL in collusion with the State Government has consciously misled the High Court of Kerala and abused the process of law.
7. Initiate credible steps to end the fast by four protestors in the Viyyur Central Jail, Thrissur and order interim compensation.
It is our humble advice to the State Government that these recent events that have transpired are nothing less than a blot on the democratic fabric of this nation and any lack of credible steps by them will only further erode the already diminishing faith in Indian polity.
Members of the Commission:
Adv. Clifton D'Rozario – Advocate Karnataka High Court, and member of Alternate Law Forum
Vimalbhai, National Organiser – National Alliance of People's Movement
Shweta Narayan – Environmental Activist with specialisation in Toxics
Dr. T V Sajeev – Scientist, Kerala Forest Research Institute
Dr. J Devika – Sociologist, CDS
Adv P A Pauran – Advocate and General Secretary PUCL, Kerala
For more details please contact:
C R Neelakandan – 9446496332
Letter From The Women Of Kathikudam
By The Women of Kathikudam
Here is a detailed report on the pollution caused by the company
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