Nitta Gellatin Protests: Police Brutality on a Peaceful Protest

The Kerala “Police behaved as the criminal formation in uniform” in Kathikudam, Thrissur Kerala. we cannot afford such a formation at the tax payers cost. Condemn the Police Brutality.

Here are some brief points about NGIL company.

Netta GellatinNitta Gellatin India Ltd., formerly Kerala Chemicals and Proteins Ltd started operation at Kathikkudam in Kadukutty Grama Panchayath, Thrissur district in 1979. It is a Japan collaboration firm with Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation also having minor share. (Even though there is Government collaboration, the NGIL management maintains that this is a private industry.)

The main raw materials used by the company are crushed bone (75 tons / day as per official documents), hydrochloric acid (80 tons/ day) and water (6500m3 / day). As per the Action council and the public, the actual quantity is double the official figures.

The main products are Ossien, which is exported to Japan for making gelatin, Limed ossien and Di-calcium phosphate for poultry feed.

The industry has been polluting the land and air in the surroundings and is discharging huge volume (almost equal to the in-take) of polluted effluents into the Chalakudy river via a concrete pipe of 750m length.
The foul smell from the industry can be felt for a radius of about 2kms (and even beyond according to wind direction. As a result, majority of people around NGIL have various respiratory diseases. The number of cancer patients is also very high. Water in the nearby wells are contaminated. The effluent is polluting the Chalakudy river.

Opposition to the industrial pollution had begun in 1980s itself. However, even though a few agitations had developed in 1990s and in the initial years of the new millennium, these were short lived. Since 2008, the NGIL Action council is continuously agitating against pollution by this firm.

On 29thm 30th and 31st of May there was large scale fish kill in the river for a 20km stretch below the effluent discharge point of this firm. Massive protest followed and people from downstream Panchayaths also became part of this agitation.

The Final Agitation was announced with indefinite fast from June 14th. The main demand was that the Company should stop discharging effluents into the river and should remove the effluent pipe. It was announced that if the Company or Government fail to do this, people will remove the effluent pipe on 1st of July.

At an all party meeting on 29th June convened by the District Collector, a new study team was appointed. The Smara Samithi / Action Council did not agree to this and stages a walkout. However, later the DC persuaded them to accept this and she promised a solution by 20th July. Hence the effluent pipe removal was postponed to 21st July (Today). Even though a study team was constituted, their report is not ready yet.

Today, more than 3000 people gathered in the morning for the agitation. At 12 the march started, but it was blocked by the police. (The strength of police is said to be 750) The agitators maintained peace and retracted from the move to forcibly remove the effluent pipe. Instead, the agitation was shifted to the NGIL gate and blockade of the company was announced by the GP president. Things went on peacefully till about 3 pm. By this time, most of the people who had come from outside Kathikkudam (including myself) had left.

After 3 police started arresting the agitators. First they arrested women and children. Once they were removed, the police pounded on the remaining agitators. It is said that when women and children were being removed from there, some heated verbal exchanges and a small tussle with police occurred. However, what followed clearly shows that the police action was pre-planned. They were selectively attacking the leaders of the struggle and a group of youth volunteers who had been supporting the agitation for the last one month. The brutal attack has resulted in almost 100 people getting injured and they are admitted in various hospitals. NGIL Action council convener Anilkumar is still in ICU. Many agitators, who were brought to the Taluk Head Quarters Hospital Chalakudy have been referred to Thissur Medical College hospital and Little Flower hospital Angamaly. The police destroyed the Pandal of action council. They have destroyed at least 25 two-wheelers. (these damaged vehicles were later taken to Koratty police station.) They were searching and attacking people inside houses also.

This is a clear case of planned police brutality on peaceful public agitation.

A district Hartal has been declared tomorrow. Eminent politicians, including the leader of Opposition Com. V.S.Achuthananthan will be visiting Kathilludam Immediately.

Support from all is requested.

Ravi.S.P

  • France Fickes

    A very interesting post.