Pembilai Orumai, the collective of women tea plantations workers in Munnar in Idukki, has ended the hunger strike demanding the resignation of Kerala minister MM Mani for his derogatory remarks against them, but has however said they will continue their protest till he resigns.
The leaders of the collective took the decision on Saturday night, a day which witnessed dramatic scenes at the protest venue. They will continue to protest till Mani is ousted from the cabinet, the leaders said.
In the afternoon, the leaders were forcefully shifted to a hospital in a bid to end their fast, but they continued fasting there. Leaders of Pembilai Orumai Gomathy Augustine, J Rajeswary and Kausalya Thankamani, who were shifted to Adimali government hospital, returned to the protest venue by 9pm, reports The New Indian Express.
The fasting began on April 25, on the fourth day of their protest after Mani unleashed an abusive verbal attack against the women leaders on April 22, saying that they were all involved in immoral activities during their protest against plantation owners demanding wage hike in 2015. Mani, a CPI(M) leader from Idukki, was warned publicly by the party for his statements, though party state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Saturday said there is no plan to sack him.
Mani, later, tried to justify his speech as rustic and not intended to insult the womenâ€™s collective. The Kerala High Court on Friday, while hearing a petition filed in this regard, had asked the government why it hasnâ€™t taken action against the minister.
Mani hasnâ€™t yet apologized for his remarks, which prompted Pembilai Orumai to continue their protest. The fast was ended following a decision by its leaders.