Do not delay action any more, EPSC tells State government

The Environment Protection Solidarity Council (EPSC) has called upon the State government to take effective steps to close down all illegal granite quarries and crusher units functioning in Kalanjoor panchayat without any further delay.

The solidarity council, in association with the People’s Acton Council (PAC) at Kalanjoor, staged a dharna in front of the Mini Civil Station here on Saturday, protesting against the recent police action against the PAC workers who had staged a non-violent agitation on June 15 against the move to sanction more granite quarries by the Kalanjoor grama panchayat.

Inaugurating the dharna, Gabriel Mar Gregorios, Metropolitan of the Thiruvananthapuram diocese of the Malankara Orthodox Church, said popular agitation played a key role in environment protection and arresting the protesters for staging a non-violent agitation could never be justified. The existence of natural streams mainly depended on the existence of hills from where they originated. Protection of hills and wetlands was, therefore, a prime responsibility of the society and the human world as a whole, he said.

Green politics

Mar Gregorios said politics could never go ahead, sidelining various environmental issues facing the world, especially in this age of ‘green politics’.

Presiding over the inaugural meeting, Prof K.M. Thomas, solidarity council convener, condemned the police action against the PAC workers on June 15.

Prof Thomas said the siege to the panchayat office was withdrawn later, on the basis of an assurance given by Revenue Divisional Officer Hari S. Nair that the demands of the PAC would be discussed in detail at a meeting to be convened by the Collector soon.

But he alleged that the police had assaulted a woman leader of the agitation and also tried to assault action council workers without any provocation in a dubious attempt to protect the interests of the quarry lobby. The action council had already moved the State Human Rights Commission against this “blatant violation of the citizen’s right to protest”, he added.

Steps to resolve issue

K. Haridas, Hindu Aikyavedi State secretary, called upon the District Administration to take immediate steps to resolve the 115-day-old agitation against granite quarries at Kalanjoor.

M.G. Santhoshkumar, action council convener, alleged that the police action against the people, including women, who were part of the non-violent protest, was totally unwarranted.

Laha Gopalan, Sadhu Jana Vimochanan Samyukta Vedi president; S. Rajeevan, SUCI district secretary; Philip M. Thomas, Simon John, P.K. Vijayan, Reji Malayalappuzha, Koshy Samuel, Sobhakaran, and Dinesh Kulathumon, all action council leaders, also addressed the dharna.