Hundreds of people participated in a demonstration organised by the Mullaperiyar Agitation Council at Karimkulam Chappathu near here on Saturday on the 125th anniversary of the Mullaperiyar lease agreement signed between the then Travancore king Visakam Thirunal and the British government.

The council also burnt the copy of the agreement made for 999 years and declared that it was in no way acceptable to the people living downstream of the century-old dam which raised a threat to the lives of thousands of people.

Addressing the public meeting, C.P. Roy, chairman of the council, said that the pact was not acceptable to the people and it should not be construed as a move against the people of Tamil Nadu. He said that while respecting the federal nature and cordial relationship between the two states, a dam that posed a threat should be decommissioned and there was no going back from this stand.

He said that in 1948, a year after the Independence, all the agreements signed under the British rule were cancelled except the Mullaperiyar agreement.

The Supreme Court order on 1952 allowing drinking water and irrigation need of Tamil Nadu should be respected and the lives of people should also be protected. He said that the council was in no way against providing water to Tamil Nadu and constructing a new dam. It is concerned over the threat raised by the existing dam.

All the people including those of Tamil origin living years in the downstream portion stood united for the cause taken by the council and it was the reason why the relay hunger strike entered 1,772 day on Saturday. People from all walks of life cutting across party line and religious differences participated in the hunger strike.

All the district panchayat members participated in Saturday's hunger strike led by district panchayat president Alex Kozhimala. Mr. Kozhimala said that that strong intervention in the issue was there though legal hurdles delay in finding a solution to the vexed issue.

Earlier, inaugurating the public meeting, government chief whip P.C. George said that the State government was keen to construct a new dam at Mullaperiyar in its term itself. He said that all parties are united on the

issue and it was the reason why the assembly had passed a resolution in this regard. He said that the security of the people should be the prime concern of a government and it should not be taken for granted. The government is concerned over the delay in finding a solution to it but is firm on constructing a new dam in Mullaperiyar, he said.

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