There was large turnout of people to line up along the National Highway here to be part of the State-wide human chain formed on Friday as part of the protest organised by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) against the Indo-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement.

CPI(M) leaders said that over two lakh people formed part of the human chain in the district and took a pledge against the agreement. The party workers and their supporters lined up on the western side of the highway and participated in the human chain programme at 5 p.m.

Among the leaders who took part in the human chain formation included Devaswom Minister Ramachandran Kadannappally, CPI(M) Central committee member E.P. Jayarajan, M. Prakashan, MLA, party district secretary P. Sasi, party leader M.V. Govindan, and local leaders of the Congress (S), Kerala Congress (Joseph) and Janata Dal.

Inaugurating the programme here, Mr. Jayarajan said the agreement was part of the Manmohan Singh government's agenda to surrender the nation to the United States. Predicting that the agreement would destroy the agricultural and fisheries sectors in the State, he said that it would lead to starvation in the State. Alleging that the Congress-led government at the Centre was serving the interests of the monopolies, he said the human chain marked the people's outburst against the agreement.

Mr. Kadannappally said the protest was an attempt to break the chain of slavery with which the Central government was trying to yoke the people of this country. It was trying to surrender the economic freedom of the country to imperialist forces, he said.

Before the participants formed the human chain, they observed silence for two minutes to condole the victims of Thekkady boat tragedy. The condolence resolution was read out at the function.

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