Staff Reporter

KOCHI: Senior Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran has said the ongoing agitation at Chengara posed a question mark before the democratic polity of Kerala.

Mr. Sudheeran said that while rulers were abetting encroachment of land and were even making legislations to legalise it, they were turning a blind eye to the rightful struggle of the poor for agriculture land.

He was delivering the inaugural address at a function here on Friday to commemorate the 12th death anniversary of C.P. Sreedharan, journalist, litterateur and cultural activist.

Mr. Sudheeran decried Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan’s alleged insult of the Chengara agitators. He would not have made such derogatory comments if he was aware of the reality. This, Mr. Sudheeran said, was an example of how rulers advised by vested interests were misled.

Mr. Sudheeran said that a communist leader like Mr. Achuthanandan should not have spoken in the voice of land mafia and urged the Chief Minister to retract the statement and apologise.

He said the ongoing struggle of the evictees of Moolamppilly for the proposed Vallarpadam Container Terminal project was testimony to the losing sensitivity of the political and ruling classes. Despite reaching a decision on the evictees everything still remained on paper, he said.

While decisions regarding wealthy were taken promptly, decisions on the problems of the poor were delayed, Mr. Sudheeran said.

He regarded the HMT land deal issue as one of the most disturbing developments of the recent past. A deal that was found illegal by a high-level committee comprising the Chief Secretary was being presented before the court as a legal one. This was a reflection of the wrong tendencies that had taken root in modern day Kerala society, Mr. Sudheeran said.

He said while there was no doubt that the land reforms had benefited the downtrodden and landless, the number of genuine beneficiaries losing out land to resort and land mafias was on the rise. Mr. Sudheeran said that ideological differences between various political parties were becoming thin as they united to safeguard their vested interests.

P.T. Thomas, chairman of C.P. Sreedharan Memorial Trust, presided. MLAs, K. Babu, V.D. Satheeshan and K.V. Thomas, Benny Behannan, KPCC general secretary, and V.J. Paulose, DCC president, were among those who spoke.