Two successive tragedies rattle Kalamassery neighbourhood

In less than a week, the Glass Factory Colony, a neighbourhood of low income groups at Kalamasserry, has witnessed two tragedies.

Last Thursday, a 17-year-old boy from the colony was brutally assaulted by his friends, the video of which had gone viral. Three days later, on Monday, one of the six juvenile accused in the case, a 17-year-old, allegedly took his life at his house.

“The whereabouts of the remaining five accused boys are not known as they have been sent away from the colony for fear of backlash from local residents. The deceased boy was also sent to a relative’s place in Cherthala but was not allowed to stay there reportedly after they were warned against doing so,” said Pareeth Pillai N., a social activist.

At the centre of the assault that triggered a chain reaction seems to be drug abuse as the youngsters were allegedly under the influence of drugs at the time.

“We are planning to organise an anti-drug awareness campaign in the colony and an all-party meet to discuss ways to deal with the drug menace. We have also asked the owner of the incomplete villa where the assault took place to either finish the project or to restrict access, besides cleaning up the bushy area,” said local councillor Chithra Surendran.

Kalamasserry municipal chairperson Seema Kannan said she had sought a report both from the municipal secretary and the local police on the incident. She said the problem of abandoned and vacant plots would be looked into.

Azeez Kummancherry, president of Kalamasserry zone of Ernakulam District Residents’ Associations Apex Council (EDRAAC) comprising 79 associations, said the first ward of Kalamasserry had been a problem area for years, with acres of abandoned plots of defunct companies and their proximity to the Muttar river. There have even been incidents in which anti-drug awareness campaigns were met with threats.

“These abandoned plots have become dens of anti-social elements, including drug pushers, and going anywhere near them even during daytime is scary. Though the issue has been raised time and again during Janamaithri police meetings, neither the police nor the politicians seem to have any control over it. The access by river means that they can get away easily even if law enforcement agencies make surprise raids,” he said.

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Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 4:31:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/two-successive-tragedies-rattle-kalamassery-neighbourhood/article33663117.ece

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