Investigations into the incident of a tanker lorry being set afire by agitated public for dumping toilet waste in the Periyar Valley canal at Chunagamveli near Aluva has revealed that it was an offshoot of an ongoing turf war between Aluva and Kochi-based gangs with regard to the disposal of waste from the Aluva region.

Police have identified some Aluva-based criminals to be behind the incident, but said they were absconding.

Aluva-based gangs were engaged in disposing of the waste in the region till some time ago before they were replaced by those from Kochi. Since then, they have been trying to seize back the right, the police said.

Aluva police said a gang from Aluva had forcibly taken away the tanker lorry by beating up the driver at Thottakkattukara and dumped the waste in Periyar Valley canal so the blame would rest on Kochi-based gangs. The cleaner of the lorry was also forced to accompany the lorry to give credence to the operation.

Meanwhile, panchayat authorities and the local public have accused the police of being hand-in-glove with the anti-social elements and turning a blind eye towards the issue, leading to similar incidents in the area.

“There had been two or three such incidents in the past, but the police failed to arrest culprits on all occasions. Sincere efforts on the part of the police to address the issue are missing though Edathala and Keezhmad panchayats and Aluva municipality have lodged repeated complaints,” M.A.M. Muneer, president, Edathala panchayat, told The Hindu.

While admitting to such incidents in the past, Aluva police said they have intensified patrolling in the area.

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