20 Dalits have been arrested and denied bail in Valapattanam, Kannur, for protesting against the New National Highway Alignment which goes through the households of 20 Pulaya families in Thuruthi colony. A video from the area shows the police using force on people including children.
Thuruthi Dalit colony is situated in Pappinisheri Panchayat, Kannur. 29 Pulaya families are facing the threat of eviction due to this project. They started protesting against the move from April 27. Today, (May 9, 2018) when the officials arrived to complete their survey in the morning, the police arrested 20 Dalit protesters who were protesting peacefully.
The ASI (Assistant Sub-Inspector) has refused to grant them bail till the survey is completed.
Some of the people who got arrested are Leela, Vasantha, Pankajakshi, Sharada, Anitha, Preetha, Sapna, Lija, Leena, Sindhu, Nima, Yasoda, Anaswara, Aswathi, Pooja, Nishil Kumar, Anil Kumar, Santhosh Kumar, Kunjambu, Balakrishnan.
11 women, 4 children and 5 men are in police custody at present. More people are being arrested and more than 100 protesters have surrounded the Valapattanam police station. Meanwhile, the survey is taking place near the 400 years old Tharavadu temple which is under threat of destruction as well.
“Thuruthi is a place which is rich in mangroves and wetlands. This NH alignment in the name of development is set to destroy the environment. The current NH allignment which goes through the Dalit colony has a curve which is against the regulations of National Highway Authority of India” Rupesh Kumar, writer and Dalit activist told TWJ.
A protest gathering has been called in order protest the unlawful arrest in Thuruthi at 4 pm near Pappinisheri Panchayat.