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The party came under heavy criticism after it was accused of setting the tents of protesting farmers on fire last week.

Protest against protestors CPI M to take out mass march amid Keezhattur agitationFile Photo
news Protests Wednesday, March 21, 2018 - 19:59

A week after tents of farmers protesting against the proposed construction of a bypass through Keezhattur were set on fire, allegedly by CPI (M) workers, the party has said it will organise a mass march as a mark of protest against the agitators.

This is being seen as move by the CPI (M) to save its face as the party came under heavy criticism following the incident.

The Left party which heads the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in the state will take out a mass march called 'Nadinu Kaval' (guarding the homeland) on Saturday to Keezhattur. CPI (M) leader MV Govindan will inaugurate the march.

With this, the Keezhattur protest has assumed more political significance. The place near Thaliparamba has seen several protests in the past months from locals of Keezhattur. The local people formed a group named 'Vayalkkilikal' and have been agitating against the construction of a bypass over paddy fields. On March 14, a tent set up by the Vayalkkilikal was set ablaze allegedly by the CPI (M) workers, attracting ire from many quarters.

Speaking to TNM, MV Govindan justified the government's stance stating that only four people had an objection to the acquisition of land for constructing the bypass.

When asked if the CPI (M) is in favour of or against the Keezhattur protest, he said that even the usage of the phrase 'Keezhattur protest' is wrong as the majority of people there do not support it.

"The CPI (M) is not against any developmental activities like construction of roads or similar things that are helpful to the public. Also, a small part of land is being used for this project. We object to projects that need acres of land," he said. 

He added that the protesters have been spreading wrong propaganda against the party and that it had nothing to do with the gutting of the tents.

Party workers from Thalipparamba area committee are expected to take part in the march. There will be a people's convention after the event. Meanwhile, Vayalkkilikal will start the second phase of their protest from Sunday and mass protests are being planned. 

However, the CPI (M)'s move is largely being viewed as a face saving exercise as the Keezhattur protest has been gaining support from across the state. Since the burning of the tents, the party has been on a defensive mode. It had to face severe criticism for coming out against the protesters and for taking an anti-farmer stand.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday told the Assembly that the party won't succumb to unnecessary protests. "56 people have given land for the project and only four have not,” the CM said.

 

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