Catholic church to hold protest meet against buffer zones

December 28, 2022 07:41 pm | Updated 07:41 pm IST - KOTTAYAM

The frustration and anger over the buffer zone issue that has engulfed the high-range settlements of Central Travancore is evolving into a massive protest movement under the Catholic church.

The Kanjirappally diocese and the INFARM, an NGO functioning in the agriculture sector under the church, is organising a protest march against the establishment of buffer zones around reserve forests at Mundakkayam on December 30. People and organisations cutting across caste and religion are slated to take part in the march, which will begin by 3 p.m.

Bishop Mar Jose Pulickal, head of the diocese, will inaugurate a protest meet to be held afterwards. Fr. Thomas Mattamundayil, director of the INFARM Kanjirappally agricultural district, will deliver the key note address.

Announcing the event, organisers said the protest was against the apathy shown by the bureaucracy and political class towards the plight of the farmers. They also asserted that buffer zones should be established not for the forests but for the farm lands.

The Catholic church holds a considerable sway in villages such as Angel Valley and Pampa Valley in Kottayam, which are the most affected areas in the recent buffer zone markings. Its intervention in the issue is also seen as an attempt to fill the vacuum created by a perceived weakening of the pro-farmer politics espoused by the Kerala Congress parties over the past one decade.

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