Kerala police unleashed brutal force against people protesting against the proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline of Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) at Mukkom, near Calicut in which dozens of agitators were injured. The agitating mob blocked rural roads with lighted tyres and threw stones at police vehicles. Tension prevailed in the area as the police resorted to a lathicharge and fired tear gas shells to disperse the crowd. Media persons also were injured in the police action.
Ten activists were taken into custody on charges of attacking the police and their vehicles. In the unexpected clash, a police officer suffered minor injury. To release the detainees, the action committee members laid a siege to the Mukkom police station under the leadership of people’s representatives led by M.I. Shanawaz, MP.
Basheer Puthiyottil, vice chairman of the Anti-GAIL Action Committee, alleged that around 500 policemen from various stations unleashed attacks on the people on the morning in the name of clearing the location for land acquisition procedures.
Leaders of the people’s action council against the GAIL project described the police action as “inhuman and provocative,” cold-shouldering the concerns of around 600 families in Kozhikode district who would be affected with the 80-km gas pipe laying work. They said the project that required around 160 acres of land in Kozhikod district for completion would be mainly dislocating the villagers settled in the Thamarassery, Karassery and Mukkom regions.
The ambitious 437-km Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) pipeline project from Kochi to Mangaluru in Karnataka passes through densely populated areas. People are worried about the safety of their lives.
The protesters are also apprehensive of accidents like the fire in GAIL pipeline in Andhra Pradesh in 2014 that claimed 22 lives.
Former Chief Minister and Chairman of the Kerala Administrative Reforms Commission, V. S Achuthanadan said, it is unbecoming of a Communist party led Left Democratic Front government to suppress people’s agitations through the brutal use of police force.