Protesters throng IUML office, waylay minister over widening of highway

November 19, 2013

KA Antony

KOZHIKODE -Hundreds of people, including women and children, from Ponnani taluk in Malappuram district, claiming to be the victims of land acquisition for the expansion of National Highway (NH) 47, on Sunday blocked Minister for Public Works VK Ibrahim Kunju in front of the League House in Kozhikode where the minister had come to attend the state secretariat meeting of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML).

The protesters entered into the League House premises shouting slogans as the meeting was about to commence.

They blocked the way of the minister from entering into the League House alleging that the IUML and its ministers were not taking any steps to stall the eviction of people from the area in the name of highway widening.

The incident led to skirmishes between the protesters and the IUML activists. Though, Industries Minister PK Kunjalikutty tried to pacify the protesters, they were not in a mood to listen to him in the beginning and this made the minister angry. Kunjalikutty told the protesters that the IUML cannot be cowed down by such actions.

“If you are doing this for getting coverage on visual media, go ahead. But, don’t think that we will be scared by such actions. This is the office of the IUML and don’t think you can come here and indulge in agitations. I have told you that the party will discuss the concerns raised by you. But, if you are not listening to us, then don’t think that you can hold us for ransom,” he told them without mincing words.

IUML national secretary ET Mohammed Basheer later said that holding protests in front of the office of a political organisation would set a ‘wrong precedent’ in the state. On the claims that the people assembled there were IUML activists, Basheer said the party would investigate the issue and take suitable action.

The protesters said that they did not come to the League House for staging any agitation but to bring into the notice of the IUML leadership the plight of victims who are set to lose their land and dwellings.






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