Cardamom planters fed up of extortion, attacks by CPM activists in Idukki

Photo: Manorama

Udumbanchola: Several cardamom planters in the plantation areas of Idukki are planning to give up cultivation and leave the area following extortion, threats and physical attacks by CPM leaders and members.

Jacob, owner of J C Plantations in Udumbanchola, and his wife Jessy, have decided to shift to Thiruvananthapuram, their native place.

The CPM has been targeting them ever since they filed a complaint with the District Collector seeking protection, the couple said.

Jacob, a Kuwait-based entrepreneur, had purchased a 16-acre cardamom plantation in Idukki back in 2001. The farm employed workers of the CITU, a CPM-affiliated trade union. After facing regular extortion threats from CPM leaders, Jacob approached the court, which banned entry of party leaders in his farm for union activities and fund collection four months ago.

The CPM was provoked when Jacob moved the High Court after CPM’s Santhanpara area committee secretary N P Sunil Kumar demanded Rs 1 lakh from him for the party fund. Subsequently, a group of CPM leaders and members attacked some workers in Jacob’s farm. The police soon arrested CPM’s Udumbanchola local secretary Aneesh; Nissam, local leader of CPM’s youth organization DYFI and party supporters Muthuraj, Perumal and Chelladurai in connection with the incident.

Last year, the CPM had given Jacob receipts for Rs 1 lakh demanding funds for building the area committee office. When the local leaders of party exerted pressure on Jacob to pay this amount, he filed a complaint with V N Mohanan, a member of the party’s district secretariat.

Jacob said that he later transferred Rs 25,000 by Google Pay to the party. However, the CPM decided to return this money to Jacob.

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