As the protests by the people of Kerala’s Wayanad district to lift the night traffic ban through the Bandipur Tiger Reserve entered the seventh day on Tuesday, thousands of students hit the streets to protest against the ban.
According to a report by the Times of India, around 20,000 students took part in the protest march held in the Sulthan Bathery area of the district to lift the decade-old ban on night traffic through the forest stretch of Wayanad and Bandipur.
Students from across the district began arriving in Sulthan Bathery around 9 am, from where they began their march, to the Swathantra Maidan (Freedom Park), where five people belonging to various youth organisations have been on an indefinite hunger strike for the past seven days.
The students had support from their school management as well, since they were brought to the protest site in their school vans and buses. Even private buses and truck owners had offered to conduct free trips for the students for the protest.
The agitation also received support from Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi, who announced that he will also be joining the protestors on Thursday. Meanwhile, the MP also held discussions with Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan at Kerala House in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Taking to Facebook following the meeting, Pinarayi Vijayan said, “Rahul Gandhi has assured his support to the government of Kerala with regard to the proposal of constructing an elevated corridor through Wayanad-Bandipur forest area.”
Meanwhile, politicians from Kerala have also voiced their support to the protestors and have pointed out the various problems they are facing due to the night travel ban.
Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, the CPI(M) state secretary, according to a report by The New Indian Express, was quoted to have said, “The government should approach the Supreme Court immediately to protect the people’s right to travel. The travel ban, which affected the entire state, was part of Central Government’s plan to close down the route permanently. The closure will affect the development of the state.”