Islamists out to cash in on Endosulfan issue

via VR Jayaraj | Kochi - Daily Pioneer published on November 21, 2010

Islamist organizations in Kerala are out to cash in on the tragedy that Endosulfan has caused in the northern Kasaragod district and other parts of the State even as one more pesticide-related death was reported from Kasaragod.

The Islamists are seeing the Endosulfan issue as a big opportunity to widen their base among the poor of the pesticide-hit areas and to form a public opinion favorable to them, especially as the sincerity of the mainstream political parties over the issue is being questioned by the people.

They point out that the mainstream political parties are viewing the Endosulfan issue as a weapon for political warfare and that they are not serious about the hardships and tragedy the people in the pesticide-hit areas are undergoing. The disparity in the assistance being provided for the pesticide victims is a telling example of this, they point out.

There is a general feeling that the CPI(M)-led LDF has turned Endosulfan into a Centre-State issue while the Congress is taking a defensive position because of its obligation to justify the Centre, despite the fact that all the parties are demanding ban on Endosulfan “for public consumption”.

The PDP of Islamist leader Abdul Nasser Madani and Solidarity, the youth movement of the Jama’at-e-Islami, have drawn up extensive plans for campaign against Endosulfan and the alleged irresponsible attitude of the main political fronts in a bid to shore up their influence among the general public which has taken a beating of late.

Madani’s party, which is in the middle of a mutiny after his arrest in the Bangalore bombings case, will hold a convention in Kasaragod on November 28 to declare solidarity with the Anti-Endosulfan Campaign Committee. That the PDP is determined to make it a big issue is obvious from the list of its top leaders scheduled to participate in the convention.

The Islamist party held an anti-Endosulfan convention in Kasaragod the other day demanding immediate and total ban on the manufacture, sales and spraying of the pesticide and compensation, relief funds and land in the estates of the Kerala Plantation Corporation for the victims of the pesticide.

At the same time, Solidarity, the youth wing of the Jama’at-e-Islami, has decided to extend its agitation against Endosulfan into the national level. The organization will hold a “Parliament march” on Wednesday demanding ban on the pesticide. Solidarity leaders said environmentalists and rights workers of national repute would take part in the march.

Meanwhile, one more person, Narayanan Pokkaliga (60) of Bellur, a patient of Endosulfan-generated disease, died in Kasaragod the other day. At least seven persons had died of Endosulfan-related health problems in Kasaragod in the past eight months. The total number of Endosulfan deaths in Kasaragod in the past two decades is estimated as 487.

At the same time, the State has decided to demand nationwide ban on Endosulfan at the high-level meeting the Centre would convene in Delhi on Tuesday. The demand for total ban is in the context of the continued and rampant use of Endosulfan, smuggled in from other states, in Kerala’s plantations despite the fact that the pesticide has been banned in the State for the past ten years.

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