Madurai

Massive agitation by farmers and fishermen

Anti Kanniyakumari International Container Transhipment Terminal protestors staging an agitation at Muhilankudiyiruppu on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: A_SHAIKMOHIDEEN

KANNIYAKUMARI

A few thousand farmers and the fishermen of the coastal district came together to stage a massive protest on the sea and land simultaneously at Muhilankudiyiruppu near here on the hot and humid Saturday against the proposed Kanniyakumari International Container Transhipment Terminal (KICTT) to vociferously tell the official machinery that they would not allow it to happen.

“As it (the proposed seaport to come-up between Kovalam and Manakkudi) will surely wipe-out the livelihood of both farmers and the fishermen with its serious pollutants, we’ll not allow it to happen,” they shouted.

After the police withdrew the permission earlier granted for their protest scheduled to be organised in front of the Collectorate around Thursday midnight, the agitation was shifted the place where the Central Government is planning to construct the seaport.

Carrying black flags in their hands, the fishermen, who were occupying a few hundred fibreglass boats, ten catamarans and of course a few mechanised boats were shouting slogans against the KICTT project for about three hours from 10 a.m. even as the protestors started gathering on the beach close to Muhilankudiyiruppu with black flags that had been installed in all villages between Kovalam and Manakkudi.

Braving the scorching sun, the crowd that gathered along the beach was continuously yelling against the proposed harbour. Apart from the fishermen of Kanniyakumari district, fishermen from the coastal hamlets of Idinthakarai and Kottappuli in Tirunelveli district also participated in today’s agitation

A good number of Christian priests, including the Bishop of Kottar Diocese Rt. Rev. Nazarene Soosai and nuns, could be seen among the protestors.

Former civil servant, M.G. Devasahayam, who plays a vital role in the anti-KICTT agitations ever since it was proposed to be established at Enayam in Western Kanniyakumari district, told The Hindu that the massive and formidable gathering on the shore and on the sea on Saturday had categorically proved that the people of Kanniyakumari would never allow anyone to dent the district’s serene environment and coastline by establishing the seaport that would irreparably damage everything here.

One of the coordinators of the struggle committee A. Mariadasan claimed that the overwhelming support the agitation received from people from all walks of life would take it to the next level in the days to come.

Fishermen from 42 coastal hamlets of the district had suspended all fishing operations on Saturday in view of the protest.

Led by Inspector General of Police (South Zone) Shailesh Kumar Yadav, over 1,400 policemen had been deployed around the protest site where Deputy Inspector General of Police, Tirunelveli Range Kapil Kumar Saratkar, Superintendents of Police N. Shreenatha (Kanniyakumari) and P Ve Arunshakthikumar (Tirunelveli) and Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order), Tirunelveli City, Suguna Singh, had camped.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2020 11:54:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/agitation/article23466475.ece

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