Sunday, March 17, 2013

Aranmula Consolidates: Camaraderie Unseen So Far

News Report of Volunteer Camp in Local Media 
With the agitation against the proposed airport at the wet lands of the heritage village now more than one year old there are rare scenes of camaraderie at Aranmula. Most of the people’s organizations of the region have come together with a singularity of purpose. It was the environmentalists, dalit organizations and radical political organizations like the Communist Party of India – (Marxist -Leninist) who took up the fight against
Photo Courtesy: New India Express
the airport project in the early days. Soon the district level leaders of the major political parties joined the agitation. The CPI(M) and CPI, some factions of the Congress Party and the RSP came out openly. So did the Hindu organizations, environmental NGOs and other informal groups.   Shelving their differences of opinion with regard to political questions they have all done the home work and are readying for the next scene.

Farm Labor Colony on Encroached Land Restored
Photo: Sreerenganathan K P
This is a fight that cannot be lost, it has to be won at any cost. More, Aranmulas  have to sprout across Kerala where the ecosystem is facing turmoil, said Mullakkara Ratnakaran, former Minister and Communist leader. The CPI(M) whose cadres lost their lands at Aranmula have taken pro-active steps of restoring lost lands and have launched a state wide agitation to retake lost agricultural lands. It is called the Second Land Reforms movement. Regarding this issue we have no politics, said Sugathakumari, who was assigned unanimously the task of coordinating the state wide agitation against the airport. What Kummanam Rajasekharan, Patron of the Paithruka Grama Karma Samithy, leaders of the CPI(M), CPI and other political parties reiterated. Each one took upon themselves the task of organizing their own groups as the airport company  has threatened that they shall start the work of the airport at any moment. What the Chief Minister of Kerala, Oommen Chandy also repeated.

Kummanam Rajasekharan attending a  Medical Service at Colony
Given the gravity of the situation, readying for any eventuality the people’s organizations have been organizing community meets in their own areas and among the followers. They have all reported confidence in dealing with any challenge. It was the marginal farmers and dalit families who first took up the struggle, who were first affected. That was when the problem at Aranmula was not known to outside world. When they saw one Abraham Kalamannil and his agents buying up lands and then filling it demolishing a hill, farm lands getting water logged and lands owned by various people illegally possessed, with fraudulent records, they filed complaints, police
cases. From the part of Kalamannil efforts were made to ruthlessly silence them using the local police who expressed helplessness as they had orders from top. Kalamannil sat through the persecution at the local police station where respectable people were insulted and asked to behave. Immensely funded from churches abroad, with a group of institutions called Mt. Zion Group, Kalamannil was also reportedly a State Committee Member of the ruling church affiliated political Party Kerala Congress (Joseph). It was then that the affected people decided to take up the issue as a people’s movement. Daring state government officials, despite pressure from top, booked the wrong doer and seeing the turn of events Kalamannil swiftly handed over the lands to a newly cooked up company and went behind the scenes. Reportedly Kalamannil made huge profits from the sales. The drama now took new dimensions, industrial area, aeropolis plans were freely used.

Samithy Leader K Krishnan Kutty addressig Ranni
Hindu Maha Sammelanam 
With the wider world coming to know the chain of events, alerted political parties and Hindu organizations at the temple town saw the threat and the Company with the powerful behind the curtains played new games. Even the Union President’s office in Delhi was misused. And with the turn of events Aranmula woke up and the people now are with one voice, no airport, restore the lands. The Hindu organizations including the nationwide volunteer group Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh have taken up the responsibility of shouldering the responsibility and Village, Taluk and District level volunteer groups are now ready for action.  Units in neighboring districts and states are also alerted and a long term plan of action chalked out.  Senior leaders of the organization having the responsibility of south India are camping at Aranmula. The left parties including the CPIM and CPI have their cadres from across the state posted at the site and the units are alerted for quick action any time. 'The Party has to take issue based and region relevant positions', said a senior CPIM leader. The local organizations like the Palliyoda Seva Samithy, other people’s organizations are also geared up. Statewide and nationwide strategies are being pursued and Aramula may see a chain of events in days to come. ‘Lines of communications are ready and Aranmula is waiting for the Sangha Nadam', referring to Lord Krishna in Kurukshetra, said Kummaam Rajasekharan, Patron of the Paithruka Grama Samithy. We are fully prepared for any misadventure on the part of the enemy and it is the path of Dharma, its the Lord’s wish, added Kummanam.

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