Protest in front of Chittilappilly's house

The much-talked-about strike by 31-year-old V. Jazeera of Kannur against illegal sand-mining took a curious turn on Monday afternoon when she reached Kochi after a four-month sit-in at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi for another round of protest in front of the house of industrialist Kochouseph Chittilappilly, who had earlier promised her a cash award of Rs.5 lakh.

After reaching Ernakulam junction around 3 p.m. by Duronto Express from Delhi, Ms. Jazeera and her three children rushed to Chakkaraparambu near Edappally where the house of Mr. Chittilappilly was located. She soon started another round of sit-in outside the closed gate of the house demanding the promised amount from Mr. Chittilappilly in cash.

Lonely battle

Talking to reporters who reached the spot on hearing about the protest, Ms. Jazeera dismissed an earlier assurance from Mr. Chittilappilly that the amount would be credited to a bank account to support educational needs of her children. Saying that her protest would continue, Ms. Jazeera wanted the amount directly handed over to her.

Last month, Mr. Chittilappilly announced the financial aid to Ms. Jazeera acknowledging her lonely battle against sand mining mafia, which ruined Neerozhukkumchal beach in Kannur. During January first week, Ms. Jazeera received a communication from Mr. Chittilappilly’s office seeking her presence at a public function scheduled for January 24 in Kochi to receive the cash award. When Ms. Jazeera said she was not able to attend the public function in Kochi because she was engaged in her protest in Delhi, the office reportedly informed her that it was withdrawing the award. When Ms. Jazeera objected to this, the office informed her that the amount would be deposited in bank account for benefit of her children.

“Now the ball is in his court. He can either hand over the amount to me or withdraw the offer publicly,’’ said Ms. Jazeera.

When contacted, Mr. Chittilappilly said he was ready to give her the amount as promised. “I stand by my earlier promise that the amount would be deposited in a joint bank account of Ms. Jazeera and her children. Education of the children is of paramount importance,” said Mr. Chittilapilly.Ms. Jazeera called off her protest in Delhi on Saturday.

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