Thiruvananthapuram: Close on the heels national and international acclaim received by Maharashtra unit of CPM for the successful long march of farmers from Nashik to Mumbai, the comrades in Kerala are drawing huge criticism for their 'anti-farmer' stand in Keezhatoor in Kannur district. The manner in which the agitation pandal of the protestors was burnt down allegedly by CPM supporters has evoked sharp reaction from a cross section of people. The social media is flooded with messages on the CPM 'double standards' in Keezhatoor. Various organisations have come out in support of the agitation launched by local people against levelling of paddy field for a proposed bypass through the area. Even Left sympathisers are unhappy with the stand of the party.
They remind that LDF manifesto had spoken loudly about protecting paddy fields and wet lands. It had announced that paddy fields would be declared as protected areas. Besides, there was a promise to publish the data bank within six months of coming to power. However, the recent decisions of the government have created doubts about its intentions. The amendments to Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act 2008, have diluted various provisions. For instance, the powers local level and state level monitoring committees have been systematically reduced.
The activists are firm on opposing the move to reclaim the paddy field which they say would adversely affect the environment and ecology. "Not even a handful of mud should be allowed to be put on the paddy fields," said a Facebook post. Keezhatoor is a CPM party village and majority of those behind the current agitation are party members or sympathisers. Despite the anti-agitation stand taken by the local unit, these people continue to be with the party and have not lost hope yet.
They say it is the party that taught them lessons on environment protection, conservation of paddy fields and wetlands. Now they are in a predicament whether to follow the local party or the lessons on environment protection. It goes without saying that Vayal Kilikal, which is spearheading the stir, is teaching a lesson or two about environment protection, agriculture, water conservation and the link between man and soil, to the party, government and society at large.
But what has perturbed them is the alleged ‘fatwa' issued by local party leaders against allowing people from outside areas to visit the area. However, various environment protection groups and activists have decided to defy the ‘fatwa.' A public meeting has been planned in Keezhatoor on March 18 which will be followed by re-installation of the agitation pandal which was burnt down, on March 25....