Kathikudam issue again on the boil, action against 3 stir leaders


Police take case under Section 107 CrPC against NGIL action council leaders

Kathikudam, a village on the banks of the Chalakudy river in Thrissur district, is once again on the boil.

The agitation of the local people against the NGIL (Nitta Gelatin India Ltd), manufacturer of gelatine, took another turn on Tuesday with the police registering a case under Section 107 of the CrPC against three leaders of the Nitta Gelatin Action Council alleging they might breach peace or disturb public tranquillity in the area.

The case was registered against action council president Jaison Panikulankara, secretary Anil Kathikudam, and member Franko Mathew.

“The case has been taken against the action council leaders on an allegation that we are damaging properties of the company. A commission appointed by the Chalakudy Munsiff Court had examined the pipeline passing through the private land owned by Franko Mathew, where the company alleged vandalism by the protesters. No sabotage was found in the pipeline,” said Mr. Anil Kathikudam.

“We have been fighting for more than 10 years for the survival of almost five lakh people living at Kathikudam. The NGIL is polluting water, air, and soil for the last four decades. It is discharging untreated pollutants to the river,” said Mr. Jaison Panikulankara.

Even the National Green Tribunal has found that the NGIL is discharging 65 tonnes of chemical waste into the Chalakudy river. The Central Pollution Control Board also had found that the company was creating severe environmental damage, said Mr. Anil Kathikudam.

“Instead of taking action against the company, the authorities are trying to silence the protesting voices, ” said Mr. Anil Kathikudam.

“None of us has a criminal background. The only cases pending against us are filed by the NGIL,” the leaders noted. They have been asked to present themselves before the Sub Divisional Magistrate on Wednesday with a bond amount of ₹25,000 and two persons for getting bail.

“We will present the facts and current situation at Kathikudam. We hope the magistrate will understand the situation. Otherwise we are ready to go to jail.”

The general body meeting of the action council is planning a ‘fill-the-jail’ protest in front of the NGIL if their leaders are not cleared of the charges. When contacted, Rural SP Yathish Chandra said the case was registered to avoid damage to properties of the company.

“Section 107 has been invoked on a public complaint to avoid any situation breaching peace or disturbing public tranquillity. Anyway they can present their case before the executive magistrate,” said Mr. Chandra.

The NGIL, a joint venture of Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation Ltd and Nitta Gelatin Group of Japan, manufactures ossein, limed ossein, intermediaries in gelatine manufacture. Ossein gelatine is derived from de-greased hard animal bones that are washed and then leached with diluted hydrochloric acid.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 9:50:00 AM |

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