Kerala

Woman’s stir gains support

Shabeena staging an indefinite hunger strike at Swagathamadu near
Kottakkal in protest against a proposed bypass as part of NH 66 expansion.

Shabeena staging an indefinite hunger strike at Swagathamadu near Kottakkal in protest against a proposed bypass as part of NH 66 expansion.  

Protest against a proposed bypass road

An indefinite hunger strike by a woman at Swagathamadu, near Kottakkal, in protest against a proposed bypass as part of the NH 66 expansion entered the fourth day on Wednesday. The satyagraha by Shabeena C. gained momentum with several organisations rallying behind her. A large number of women too have joined the strike.

The police drew criticism when they forcibly removed Ms. Shabeena to the District Hospital at Tirur and left her there on Tuesday. The hospital authorities refused to admit her. She came back to the protest venue and resumed the hunger strike as more men and women joined her on Wednesday.

A law graduate, Ms. Shabeena said she would not stop the stir until the government solved the issue. “We have no problem with the NH 66 expansion. The NH authorities are trying to construct a new road by displacing dozens of families and destroying hectares of farmland,” she said. The proposed 4.4-km road from Swagathamadu to Palachiramadu will bypass Chenguvetty and Edarikode towns. The protesters said 55 acres would be lost, of which 28 acres was paddy field. The area also had three streams, six wells of Jalanidhi project and seven ponds. Above all, 86 houses would be lost, they said.

The protesters said the authorities had planned the new bypass to help commercial buildings, which had been enjoying highway proximity at Chenguvetty. “The government is trying to rob the poor to help the rich by way of saving those commercial buildings,” said Ms. Shabeena.

Several State and district leaders of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), Congress, Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), and local leaders of the CPI(M) visited Ms. Shabeena and offered their support. Environmental activist C.R. Neelakandan too lent his support.

Keezhattur Vayalkilikal has extended their support to her.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 6:53:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/womans-stir-gains-support/article23437474.ece

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