: The Kerala Lottery Protection Council, an organisation of lottery vendors in the State, has urged the State government to increase the number of draws of Kerala paper lotteries to seven a week.

In a statement issued on the ninth day of the lottery vendors' satyagraha to press this demand here on Thursday, the council said the High Court of Kerala, in an order on October 14, 2010, had given the State government permission to conduct seven draws of its lotteries a week.

However, the government was conducting only one draw a week, citing another order the High Court of Kerala had passed on August 20, 2010, a date prior to the order giving permission to conduct seven draws a week.

This attitude of the State government was unacceptable, the statement, issued on behalf of M.V. Jayarajan, MLA, who is the leader of the council, said.

The council said it had decided to intensify the agitation against this “injustice” on the part of the State government. It would take out rallies to all District Collectorates in the State on January 17.

The council urged the government to protect lottery vendors and prevent the “gambling operations” of other State lotteries. Kerala lotteries were being run properly and according to the laws governing lotteries. Destroying Kerala lotteries was not the solution to tackling the illegal activities of other State lotteries.

The government had been keeping Kerala lotteries partially incapacitated during the last 134 days (by restricting the number of draws to one a week).

“The lottery vendors are in dire straits. There are very aged people, physically handicapped people and those with serious ailments among them. Their income has come down drastically. Eight lottery vendors have already committed suicide. Children of many lottery vendors have stopped going to colleges since they could not pay the course fees,” the statement said, quoting Mr. Jayarajan.