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Kasargod's endosulfan victims upset over Kerala government's somersault

Remaining 1,031 were not included as it was found during field verifications they were not staying in the endosulfan affected regions while the pesticide was sprayed.
Last Updated : 01 July 2024, 13:46 IST

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Thiruvananthapuram: A recent statement of Kerala social justice minister R Bindu that 1,031 persons from Kasargod, who were found to be having health issues in a medical camp set up to determine endosulfan victim in 2017, could not be considered as the victims of pesticide spraying, has come as a rude shock to many families as the minister's response came close on the heels of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan giving them an assurance.

Agitated over the fresh turn of events, the victims' families are relaunching the stir from July 17. They had ended a over four-month-long stir on the basis of the chief minister's assurance.

Bindu told the assembly on June 27 that 1,905 persons were included in a preliminary list of victims after two stages of screening at a medical camps in 2017. Of that, 874 were added to the final list of victims. Remaining 1,031 were not included as it was found during field verifications they were not staying in the endosulfan affected regions while the pesticide was sprayed.

Endosulfan victims' action council leader Ambalathara Kunhikrishnan said that the minister's contention lacked any logic as people from the region were already included in the list of 6728 victims.

On June 14 representatives of the victims along with MLAs from Kasargod called on Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to take up their plea. "The chief minister responded positively and based on that the stir at Kasargod was ended. Now we feel like being cheated," Kunhikrishnan said.

Former minister and CPI MLA from Kanhangad in Kasargod E Chandrasekharan, who had accompanied the endosulfan victims' representatives during the meeting with the chief minister, told DH that it was still not clear why the social justice minister made such a statement even as the chief minister responded favourably.

Kunhikrishnan said that this could be yet another attempt by the government to eliminate persons from the list so as to deny the court ordered compensation of Rs 5 lakh each and medical aid, which is more important and many as having serious deformities.

Last year, the government issued an order that only those born till 2011 October, six years after endosulfan spraying at the cashew plantations of Kasargod was stopped, could be considered as endosulfan victims as an expert committee suggested that the effect of the endosulfan will last only for six years. But this has been contested by various forums in the court pointing out that endosulfan is genotoxic and could affect generations.

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Published 01 July 2024, 13:46 IST

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