'Kerala farmers live and die in debt'; Catholic Congress protests on buffer zone issue

'Kerala farmers live and die in debt'; Catholic Congress protests on buffer zone issue

Kochi: In protest against the state government's anti-farmer stance and neglecting of Saint Kuriakose Chavara, the Catholic Congress Global Committee has staged a dharna at the Secretariat. The sit-in dharna was organized on Wednesday, in front of the secretariat, raising various demands, including that of the buffer zone. The issue of buffer zone has come as a blow to the farmers who are already struggling with crisis. Farmers are unorganized and the officials are exploiting that, Catholic Congress Global President Adv. Biju Parayannilam said. Inaugurating the dharna, he added that the Farmers in Kerala live and die in debt.

It is the voice of the Catholic community that is raised in front of the secretariat. The Global Committee of the Catholic Congress stated that this meeting will mark the beginning of huge protests in the days to come.

The protest dharna was organized to demand the withdrawal of the cabinet decision of 2019 since the double standards adopted by the state government on the issue of buffer zone since it would adversely affect the farmers, to protest against the failure to solve the loss of many people's lives and destruction of crops due to the attack of wild animals in various areas of Kerala, and also to protest against neglecting the contributions of the revolutionary hero Saint Kuriakose Chavara.

The Kerala government has failed to convince the special situation of the state and avoid buffer zone in Kerala. The state forest minister had recently said that the buffer zone issue would be brought to the attention of the central government. Even as the state government tries to wash its hands off the issue by introducing a resolution, the Cabinet decision to have a buffer zone in 2019 is still remaining. In this situation, the common farmers understand that approaching the central government and the resolution passed is of no value. The state government is playing hide and seek without trying to correct the decision of the cabinet. This is just an attempt to mislead the farmers. Moreover, the Catholic Congress stated that the government's stance is a gross betrayal of the farmers.

The Catholic Congress is organizing a dharna in front of the Secretariat under these circumstances. The state government should enact legislation so that farmers can drive away wild animals from their farms.

The Catholic Congress demanded that the omission of Saint Kuriakose Chavara from the 7th class textbook, which explains about the revivalist heroes of Kerala, is part of a conspiracy and cannot be accepted.

Strong protests on these issues were held in various regions of Kerala under the leadership of the Catholic Congress. The secretariat dharna on July 20 was held as a continuation of this.

Catholic Congress Global General Secretary Rajeev Kochuparampil, Vice President Dr. Joskutty J Ozhukayil, Secretary Benny Antony, Global Director Father Gio Kadavi and Treasurer Joby Kakassery spoke. Also hundreds of members from various dioceses of Kerala along with officials and activists joined the dharna.

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