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Daya Bai may contest Lok Sabha polls to highlight plight of endosulfan victims in Kasargod

During a recent channel discussion, Daya Bai expressed her intention to become an elected representative herself, noting that current representatives have failed to address the issues faced by endosulfan victims.
Last Updated 05 March 2024, 14:18 IST

Thiruvananthapuram: Amidst the ongoing indefinite stir by endosulfan victims of Kasargod, renowned social activist Daya Bai revealed her plans to contest the Lok Sabha polls from the northern district of Kerala to  highlight the plight of the endosulfan victims as well as the district's overall backwardness, particularly in healthcare.

Kasargod has been witnessing strong stir against a decision of Kerala government not to consider those born in endosulfan-affected areas after October 2011 as endosulfan victims. Despite assurances from the government, as many as 1,031 individuals with mental and physical deformities screened at a 2017 medical camp have not yet been included in the list.

It was during a channel discussion the other day that Daya Bai expressed her intention to become an elected representative herself, noting that current representatives have failed to address the issues faced by endosulfan victims.

Daya Bai had staged an 18-day hunger strike in front of the Secretariat in 2022, taking up the plight of endosulfan victims. The protest was called off after a delegation of ministers assured to address their concerns.

However, a recent government order stated that individuals born in endosulfan-affected regions after October 2011 would not be considered victims of the pesticide. The reason cited was that the effects of endosulfan on the environment typically do not last longer than six years. Since endosulfan use was banned in the region in 2005 October, it would not cause any genetic problems to the people born after 2011 October. In response, the victims are staging an indefinite stir and also moved the court.

A native of Pala in Kottayam district of Kerala, Bai had taken part in the Narmada Bachao Andolan and many tribal movements in various parts of the country.

For the Lok Sabha poll, Congress's sitting MP, Rajmohan Unnithan, is likely to contest again from Kasargod. The BJP has fielded national executive member of Mahila Morch M L Ashwini and CPM has nominated senior leader M V Balakrishnan.

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(Published 05 March 2024, 14:18 IST)

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