Scores of CPI(M) party workers are set to descend upon the city on Monday. And to meet them are troops from the Central Reserve Police Force and the State police. Considering the saturation coverage by television channels of the coming Secretariat siege being led by the CPI(M), any resident of Thiruvananthapuram is bound to become at least mildly apprehensive about what may unravel on Monday.
But there is one woman and her three children who have been carrying out their silent protest in front of the Secretariat for 10 days now, who appear to be unperturbed by the approaching storm.
Having become a familiar sight in front of the North Gate, Jazeera has no intention of abandoning her protest.
In fact, when she left her rented room with her children on Sunday morning, she had an additional baggage of blankets, sheets, stock of food and water as she intends to spend the night here knowing for a certainty that it would be impossible to find their way back to their usual spot on Monday.
This is unsurprising considering the determination this lone woman has displayed in battling the so-called sand-mafia that is eating up the beach near her childhood home at Kannur.
“Why should we go? I have come here for a reason and it makes no sense to leave it halfway simply because there is another protest. Yes, there will be huge numbers and they have one cause – the Chief Minister’s resignation. Seriously, there are other, more grave issues that need to be addressed,” Jazeera states.
It is this clarity of approach that has managed to get even the mafia worried even though the campaign involves just one Muslim woman and two girls Rizwana (12) and Shifana (10) and one-and-half-year old Mohammed.
Shifana looked up from her meticulous colouring and nodded as her mother said that the mafia has posed worse threats. “This protest does not frighten us. I have been physically harassed by the people involved in the excavation and here there is no threat,” she says.
She has found her adopted town far more acceptable of her and her profession as an autorickshaw driver. It was only when she returned for the final month of her third pregnancy, did she see the systematic destruction of the slim stretch of shore. Visits to the collectorate and police stations have proved futile, she says.
“I have decided that I am not going to leave until I receive a written promise from the Chief Minister than this nonsense will be stopped. I’m glad that I have at least drawn attention to what the mafia has been doing there,” said Jazeera, adding that Mr. Chandy had met the family on Monday and had promised her that they would immediately crack down on the trucks transporting the sand.