Laha Gopalan passes away

Laha Gopalan, former leader of the Chengara land struggle in Pathanamthitta, passed away here on Wednesday.

He was 72 and had been ailing for a while. He had been tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month and was admitted to a hospital in Pathanamthitta on September 21.

A native of Thazhakara in Alappuzha, Mr. Gopalan retired from the Kerala State Electricity Board as an overseer in 2005. Having led the Chengara land struggle during its initial phase, he went on to spearhead several land struggles by Dalits across the state.

He had left Laha about five years ago and was staying in Pathanamathitta with his relatives.

As many as 300 landless families, under the aegis of the Sadhu Jana Vimochana Samyukta Vedi led by Mr.Gopalan encroached on nearly 145 ha of the HML rubber plantation at Chengara under the cover of night on August 4, 2007 demanding five acres for farming and ₹50,000 in cash towards initial farming expenses to each of the families. They pitched tents on the occupied land, tapped latex from the rubber trees at the estate and later turned to agriculture to eke out a living.

Attempts by the government to clear the protesters from the site were met with suicide threats, which brought the struggle into national attention.

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Printable version | Oct 18, 2021 12:51:34 AM |

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