Kerala

Death of 3 Jharkhand men triggers protest

The police shifting bodies (inside the ambulance) of migrant workers at a labour camp camp in Kanjikode, Palakkad on Tuesday. K.K. Mustafah

The police shifting bodies (inside the ambulance) of migrant workers at a labour camp camp in Kanjikode, Palakkad on Tuesday. K.K. Mustafah   | Photo Credit: K_K_Mustafah

The death of three men from Jharkhand on the railway tracks at Kanjikode, near here, on Monday night triggered a wave of protests and violence by a large group of migrant workers.

The protesters attacked the police and Fire and Rescue personnel who reached the spot to shift the victims to the hospital. The attackers destroyed an ambulance belonging to the Fire and Rescue Department. Six firemen were injured in the mob fury.

Kanai Viswakarma, 21; Aravind Kumar, 23; and Hariyom Kunal, 29; were found fatally knocked down on the rail tracks at Pannimada near the IIT campus, Kanjikode, around 10.30 p.m. on Monday.

Hailing from Jharkhand’s Palamu district, they were part of a contract labour group working for the construction of the IIT building. They were living in a tent on the campus.

While Hariyom had died on the spot, the other two died while being taken to a hospital. A large group of migrant labourers gathered at the site and prevented the police and the Fire and Rescue personnel from shifting Hariyom’s body to the district hospital.

The police retreated on Monday night when the mob turned violent. According to the police, the trio could have been hit by a goods train while walking along the tracks between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. However, the protesters alleged that they were murdered by local people.

Conciliatory talks

The standoff between the migrant workers and the police and revenue authorities continued until 11 a.m. on Tuesday. Talks held by DySP P.P. Manoj and senior revenue officials convinced them to part with the body for postmortem. The government has offered to meet the expenses of transporting the bodies to Jharkhand.

The police have launched an investigation into the deaths and the violence that followed. The postmortem will be held as per the COVID-19 protocol. As there are COVID-19 restrictions in Jharkhand, a decision on taking the bodies to Jharkhand will be taken later.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 8:19:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/death-of-3-jharkhand-men-triggers-protest/article32273341.ece

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