Mullaperiyar: chronicle of a stir

A huge rally from the nearby Alady junction to Karinkulam Chappathu will mark the fifth anniversary of the Mullaperiyar relay hunger strike here, which was launched on December 25, 2006.

The 48-hour relay hunger strike started by the then chairman of the Mullaperiyar Agitation Council Fr. Joy Nirappel and general convener C.P. Roy on that Christmas day, turned into a mass movement taken up by political parties culminating in an indefinite hunger strike on November 27, which is still continuing.

The agitation is being held in the most peaceful manner, which is the reason for its mass support, council members said.

Thousands of people from all sections of society had participated in the hunger stir and various organisations came to the agitation venue to join it.

However, it was the people residing on the banks of the Periyar and nearby Upputhara who supported the agitation without hesitation, making it one of the longest agitations in the country.

“When we were facing the threat for years, nobody came for our support,” said P.S. Rajan, who runs a studio here. He is happy that the issue has got national attention. However, finding a solution without delay is imperative, he said.

He said on the 100th day of the relay hunger strike, social critic Sukumar Azhikode came here to support the agitation. “Now it is a fact that almost all prominent leaders had visited Chappathu,” he said.

“If the issue is solved, the fear among the people will subside,” said Uppputhara resident M.M. Joseph. He said the residents on the banks of the river still lived there as they were unable to sell their property as there were no buyers. “The poor development of Chappathu is a reminder,” he said.

The agitation intensified when 200 members of the council tonsured their head on the 200th day to register their protest against the authorities for not solving the issue. This was followed by a symbolic opening of the canal, an assembly march, a rail roko at Kottayam, and a traffic blockade on the Kottayam- Kattappana route.

“However, we never deviated from the agitation's core principle of a peaceful protest,” said ward member and the council's central committee member Shaji P.Joseph.

A photo exhibition on the different phases of the agitation will be held here on Sunday.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2020 6:11:52 PM |

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