Shri Pinarayi Vijayan,
The Chief Minister, Kerala,
Sub: Urgent intervention sought in the matter of police action against peaceful protestors of Puthuvypeen, Kochi.
Dear Shri Pinarayi Vijayan,
We are writing to you in the context of the serious repression by your Government on the people of Puthuvypeen, near Kochi who have been peacefully protesting against the LPG Import Terminal Project of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) for the past 108 days. Just as we were pleased to note certain positive decisions by your Govt. on other fronts, we are constrained to note that like in any other state, people’s voices and struggles continue to be muzzled in Kerala, particularly when the justifiability of ‘development projects’, pushed against popular consent is questioned in democratic ways.
It has come to our notice that the Kerala Police, by way of lathi charge of women and men, mass arrests and even unlawful detention of children, has brutally come down on the residents of Puthuvypeen. We would like to stress here that most of the people of Puthuvypeen are poor, landless people and many of them belong to the fishing community. Their concerns of livelihood loss, environmental and health impacts must be addressed by the State, not crushed in this manner.
We were extremely disturbed to see pictures of women and children detained at police stations, protestors with broken / fractured limbs and police ruthlessly demolishing the Satyagraha pandal, all in an attempt to enable IOC to start the project work. We received information from reliable sources that until yesterday late night, more than 325 people are under the custody of the police in different stations, of which over a 100 are children! While 45 children, along with women are in one station, about 15 children are in yet another station. Some women and children are in the nearby hospitals. This action of the police is in complete violation of basic human rights, criminal procedure and juvenile justice laws.
While we do not wish to bother you with legal technicalities of the IOC Project at this stage, we have gathered that certain matters in this regard are still pending before the Southern Zonal Bench of the Hon’ble National Green Tribunal and the matter has been listed on 4th July, 2017 for further hearing by the NGT. The Order dt. 24/4/2017 of the NGT also indicates that the Union Environment Ministry has sought time to file reply. We are at pains to understand as to how the plant works could have been initiated, much less using physical force when the matter is sub judice before the NGT. Your government owes an explanation to the NGT and people-at-large in this regard.
National Alliance of People’s Movements expresses its solidarity with the people of Puthuvypeen and calls upon your government to immediately and unconditionally withdraw charges, if any, and release all those who have been arrested or detained, along with ensuring medical, legal aid and compensation for police excesses.
We hope you will immediately intervene in this incident and also issue orders for appropriate legal action against the administrative and police officials for unlawful detention and physical force used on the peaceful protestors. We urge you to ensure that the project works are put on hold until there is a clear informed consent of the local people, final approval of the NGT and compliance with all environmental laws. Kindly take a positive step for facilitating a dialogue between the concerned departments and representatives of the people, to ensure an amicable solution.
We look forward to a response to this letter and immediate action as requested.
Thanking you and with regards,
Signed by the National Team of Advisors, Convenors and Special Invitees of NAPM
Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)
Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey and Shankar Singh Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) and National Campaign for People’s Right to Information and NAPM
Prafulla Samantara, – Lok Shakti Abhiyan & NAPM, Odisha;
Lingraj Azad – Samajwadi Jan Parishad – Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, NAPM, Odisha;
Binayak Sen and Kavita Srivastava, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL)
Sandeep Pandey, Socialist Party and NAPM, Uttar Pradesh
Sudhir Vombatkere, Senior Activist, NAPM, Karnataka
Gabriele Dietrich, Penn Urimay Iyakkam, Madurai and NAPM, TN;
Geetha Ramakrishnan, Unorganised Sector Workers Federation, NAPM, TN;
Arul Doss, NAPM Tamil Nadu
Arundhati Dhuru, Nandlal Master, Manesh Gupta – NAPM, UP;
Richa Singh, Sangatin Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan, NAPM-UP
Vilayodi Venugopal, CR Neelakandan and Prof. Kusumam, NAPM, Kerala
Vimal Bhai – Matu Jan Sangathan, NAPM-Uttarakhand & Jabar Singh, NAPM, Uttarakhand;
Sister Celia – Domestic Workers Union & NAPM, Karnataka;
Rukmini V P, Garment Labour Union, NAPM, Karnataka;
Anand Mazgaonkar, Krishnakant – Paryavaran Suraksh Samiti, NAPM Gujarat;
Kamayani Swami, Ashish Ranjan – Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan & NAPM Bihar;
Mahendra Yadav – Kosi Navnirman Manch, NAPM Bihar;
Sister Dorothy, NAPM Bihar
Dayamani Barla, Aadivasi-Moolnivasi Astivtva Raksha Samiti, NAPM Jharkhand
Dr. Sunilam and Adv. Aradhna Bhargava – Kisan Sangharsh Samiti NAPM Madhya Pradesh
Bhupender Singh Rawat – Jan Sangharsh Vahini, NAPM, Delhi
Rajendra Ravi, Nanu Prasad, Madhuresh Kumar, Amit Kumar, Himshi Singh, Uma Kapari, Zaved Mazumder, NAPM, Delhi
Faisal Khan, Khudai Khidmatgar, NAPM Haryana
J S Walia, NAPM Haryana;
Kailash Meena, NAPM Rajasthan;
Amitava Mitra & Avik Saha, NAPM West Bengal;
P. Chennaiah, Andhra Prdaesh Vyavasaya Vruttidarulua Union (APVVU) and NAPM-AP
Ramakrishnam Raju, United Forum for RTI and NAPM, AP
Suniti SR, Suhas Kolhekar, Prasad Bagwe – NAPM, Maharashtra;
Gautam Bandopadhyay, NAPM, Chhattisgarh
Anjali Bharadwaj, National Campaign for People’s Right to Information and NAPM
Kaladas Dahariya, RELAA, NAPM, Chhattisgarh
Bilal Khan, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, Mumbai,
Meera Sanghamitra, NAPM Telangana-AP