The fight against ‘sand mafia’ has more people to it now. First, it was a lone fight by V. Jazeera, who left behind everything in her native Kannur to start a protest in front of the Secretariat, with her three children.
On the 25 day of protest here on Monday, she found solace in Darley or ‘Darley ammooma’ as she is known, who has been fighting for the same cause. Darley was in the news for her protest against sand mafia which plundered her hometown Olathanni.
Darley has been in the fight for many years now to save the village on the banks of the Neyyar in the Neyyatinkara municipality. The consequences of indiscriminate sand-mining was felt this monsoon at Olathani. Darley’s house was destroyed and the police and the Fire and Rescue Services had to shift her to an old-age home.
Darley has decided to join Jazeera’s fight in front of the Secretariat. She wants the government to take action against the ‘sand mafia’ and support her rehabilitation.
Supporting Darley, members of the Welfare Party of India (WPI) organised a protest in front of the Secretariat on Monday. Speaking to The Hindu, WPI State secretary Sreeja Neyyattinkara said the party would extend all support to the women in their fight against the sand mafia.
“Women such as Darley have been fighting for many years but the authorities and the sand mafia are all hand in hand. Darley’s health condition is deteriorating and she may not be able to extend her continued support to Jazeera and the cause. But, the party has decided to take up the issue and support both women in their fight,” Ms. Sreeja said.
Though the Chief Minister had agreed to look into the issue and take action, the government was not ready to give any concrete assurance, she said.
“Jazeera has been sent back home many times with such false promises when she protested in Kannur. So, this time, she is not budging unless she gets what she wants. The party will submit a petition to the Chief Minister on Tuesday. If there is no action, we will also organise an indefinite strike,” she said.
Kerala State Mahila Congress president Bindu Krishna also visited the protestors on Monday and promised to take up the matter with the Chief Minister.