A group of environmental activists were allegedly blocked and manhandled by a mob, when they were on their way to a water theme park co-owned by a ruling LDF MLA, to assess the alleged ecological violation in the region.
A case has been registered against at least 100 people in this connection, police said on Monday (October 7). The 46-member group comprised several known environmentalists, social critics and activists including well known writer MN Karassery, CR Neelakandan, Kusumam Joseph and K Ajitha. They were blocked, manhandled and in threatening tones asked to go back by the anti-social elements, while they visited a quarry functioning near the theme park co-owned by CPI(M)-supported independent MLA, PV Anwar, on Sunday.
The goons allegedly snatched the mobile phones of the activists and deleted the visuals taken by them by force besides using abusive language and roughing up some of them. Police on Monday registered a case against around 100 “identifiable” people in this regard. The controversial water theme park is situated nealy 3,000 feet above sea level at an ecologically sensitive area of Western Ghats in Kakkadampoyil village near here, which is prone to landslides.
The green activists have been complaining for some time that the park was constructed flouting norms and several illegal constructions and check dams attached to it are posing serious environment threats.
The Kerala High Court had recently ordered the demolition of a check dam illegally constructed inside the theme park. CR Neelakandan, who was among the activists stopped by the mob, said not the one check-dam mentioned by the High Court but several such dams and other illegal constructions were there at the theme park. He alleged they were stopped by the anti-social elements supported by Anwar, who represents Nilambur constituency in the state assembly.
“Around 200 people had rushed to us when we were on the way to a quarry at Thenaruvi near the theme park. They used filthy language against us… there were women and children in our group. They manhandled some of our members and deleted the photos and videos taken by us,” he told PTI.
The activist said there were encroachments, illegal check-dams, diversion of the rivulet, quarrying and constructions inside a river, blocking its natural course, in the region. All rules and regulations were flouted to set up the theme park in the ecologically sensitive area. The case of only one check dam came up before the High Court. But, there are several such illegal check-dams in the area,” he claimed.
Neelakandan further alleged the attack against them was “pre-planned” and they did not get police support at the right time. Later, a complaint was lodged with the Vadakara rural
Superintended of Police against the attack. However, Thiruvambady police rejected the charges and said a “suo moto case was registered against around 100 people for blocking the activists and investigation was on.