Kerala Minister criticised for Endosulfan remarks

Endosulfan victims from North Kerala's Kasargod staging a sit-in near Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's official residence as part of ongoing indefinite hunger stir in Thiruvananthapuram.

Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja has invited strong criticism from various quarters for her remark that endosulfan victim children with mental and physical deformities are being exhibited in front of the Kerala Government Secretariat.

Critics point out that even Shailajah had supported similar stirs by the endosulfan victims while she was not in power. Hence her present stand is being widely criticised as a double standard.

It was on Saturday that the Health Minister said that it was not proper for the mothers of the endosulfan victims to exhibit their children with deformities as part of the ongoing indefinite hunger strike.

Activist Sonia George said that it was owing to the helplessness that the mothers had to bring them to the venue of the stir and it was unfortunate that the health minister, who is a woman, had seen it as an act of exhibition. The minister even was part of stirs by endosulfan victims while she was not in power. Victim children were present at such stirs also, she reminded.

Noted activists Daya Bhai, who has been staging an indefinite hunger strike in front of Kerala Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram since January 30, flayed that the Health Minister could have made such a statement owing to her guilt feeling over pushing the endosulfan victims to yet another stir. The children were not being exhibited, but were conveying to the world the plights of hundreds of such endosulfan victim children, she said.

Senior Congress leader and former president of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee Mr. V M Sudheeran also said that the Health Minister’s statement insulting the endosulfan victims added salt to the injury. Instead of that she should have initiated to address the genuine grievances of the victims of the indiscriminate use of the pesticide.

The initial plan of the agitation was that only mothers of some endosulfan victims would stage the indefinite stir in Thiruvananthapuram. But it was not possible for the mothers to leave behind the victim children at home as they required mothers’ constant care, said the agitators.

CM INVITES FOR TALKS

As the endosulfan victims intensified their five-day-long hunger stir in front of the Kerala Secretariat raising various demands, Kerala Chief Minster Pinarayi Vijayan invited them for talks on Sunday.

The victims staged a march to the official residence of the Chief Minister, following which they were invited for talks.

Though talks were initiated by the state Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan and Health Minister K K Shailaja on Friday, it failed as the State Government declined the demand to include more endosulfan victims to the official list of victims.

At present persons of eleven panchayats of Kasargod district, where endosulfan was used on plantations, were only considered by the Kerala government as victims. However, agitators demand that those from nearby panchayats should be also considered. Endosulfan was aerial spayed at the plantations and it affected people of nearby panchayats also, they maintained.

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Kerala Minister criticised for Endosulfan remarks

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