Two members of a women’s collective of plantation workers on Tuesday began an indefinite fast in Munnar demanding the resignation of Power Minister M M Mani over his offensive remarks against the outfit’s activists. Members of ‘Pembila Orumai’ have been protesting for the last two days here after the minister’s allegedly questioned the character of the outfit’s women workers at a public function.
They intensified their agitation today by launching an indefinite fast to press for their demand. Opposition Congress-led UDF, BJP and Aam Aadmi Party also lent support to their stir. Environmentalist and AAP state leader C R Neelakantan also joined the women. Gomathy, one of the two fasting women, said they would continue their stir until the minister apologises and resigns.
“Let them call us Maoists and extremists.. we will not stop our agitation”, she said. Meanwhile, CPI(M)’s Idukki district unit took out a march in support of Mani. They also organised a public meeting criticising the agitators.
In Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala Students Union and Youth Congress took out a march to the secretariat, demanding Mani’s resignation. Police used water cannons to disperse them. Some Youth Congress women workers, who tried to wave black flags at the minister while he was on his way to the Assembly, were taken into custody.
Pembila Orumai had successfully staged a protest for wage hike for plantation workers in 2015. The one-and-half-month-long agitation by thousands of women plantation workers under the outfit’s banner, keeping political parties and trade unions at bay, had grabbed headlines.