C K Janu ends hunger strike
KOCHI: With the government promising not to start the engineering college at Kundala, Munnar, tribal activist C K Janu ended her hunger strike on Saturday, bringing victory to the one-and-a-half-year long tribal resistance movement.
On behalf of the government, Higher Education Secretary Alphonse Kannanthanam talked today to leaders of the Kundala Boosamrakshana Samithi and Samara Samithi, and assured them that 76 acres in another part of Munnar will be allotted for the college.
Steps will be taken to rehabilitate the Kundala tribals and bring back those who left during the agitation. They will be given police protection till peace is restored.
The petitions to drop cases against Dalit-tribal leaders will be submitted to the Home Ministry.
The strike was in protest against the proposed Munnar Engineering College. The Kundala Boosamrakshan Samithi leaders alleged that the Education Department with the Revenue Department's concurrence occupied two tribal cattlesheds and destroyed their huts and a biogas plant for the construction of the college.
After the tribals demolished two buildings of the college on March 24 and 25, Education Minister P J Joseph said that attempts were being made to find another place for the college.
But, immediately after that, the Kundala Muthuvan Settlement was raided and the residents were beaten up. The Engineering College Action Council demanded evacuation of the tribals from Kundala and restarting of the college, and it resulted in Janu starting her hunger strike at Thodupuzha.
The tribal leaders planned to march to the land allegedly occupied by P J Joseph on May 7 as part of their agitation. The District Collector will visit Kunadala Settlement tomorrow and hold a peace meeting on May 19.