For over half a century, hartals called by even the most prominent political parties in the country had no effect on Nainamvalappu, a coastal fishing hamlet in Kozhikode city. But Friday was different as residents themselves called for a hartal and shops in the village remained shut throughout the day. Because the issue in question gave residents of this ‘hartal-free zone’ a nightmare.
It was the Kozhikode Corporation’s attempts to construct a Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) at Pallikkandy, half-a-kilometre away from Nainamvalappu, and the alleged police atrocity against protesters at the site of the STP on Thursday that led to hartals in Kundungal, Idiyangara, Pallikkandy, Kuthukallu, Nainamvalappu and Kothi, which are part of three wards — Mukhadar, Kuttichira and Chalappuram — of the Kozhikode Corporation. Even schools in the locality remained closed on the day.
The alleged manhandling of a child by the police when he tried to hold on to his mother who was arrested during Thursday’s protest has come under sharp criticism from the public.
Hundreds of people participated in a march taken out by the protest committee from Pallikkandy to the Kothi mini stadium in the evening.
The Corporation did not carry out any construction activity at the plant site on Friday though the authorities are determined to go ahead with the project.
Meanwhile, the local protest committee is planning to approach the High Court Division bench against lifting of the order asking the Corporation to maintain status quo at the site. The committee claimed that a High Court Division bench had asked the district administration to take steps to clear encroachments on the banks of Kallai while another single bench was encouraging construction on an encroached piece of land.