Once again the protests against sewage treatment plant (STP) at Avikkal Thodu in Kozhikode district turned violent when police lathi charged and used tear-grenades on the protesters. More than 17 protestors were taken into custody on Saturday. The clashes occurred during the hartal observed by the coastal region of Avikkal. For the last many days the residents in Avikkal have been protesting against the STP, fearing that their water sources and soil will get polluted, leading to health issues.
Protests were on since Saturday morning but clashes broke out later on and police barricades were thrown into a canal nearby by protesters. Following this, the police caned the protestors and used tear gas shells after stones were pelted at them. A few of the protestors were taken to a hospital with injuries. Visuals of a person being singled out and beaten up by police after he tried to attack police using a stick also made rounds in social media.
The protest committee has claimed that it was not them who pelted stones at police. They alleged that similarly, external forces were involved in worsening the situation in previous protests too.
The residents have been saying that they will not allow the project to proceed, alleging that the plant will cause health issues. But Kozhikode corporation is determined to go on with the project before the funds for it lapse. The corporation has defended the protests saying that the project will benefit the local community.
In the last two weeks more than 100 protestors were taken into custody by police at various protests by the local residents.
The STP at Avikkal was planned under the AMRIT scheme of the Union Government. The corporation authorities have clarified that some of the local representatives in the area were shown a similar plant in Thiruvananthapuram, which is very successfully functioning, to convince them.
The Congress party is backing the protests in the region.
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