Kerala bishop says protesters ready to shed blood against buffer zones

Thamarassery Bishop
Thamarassery Bishop Remigiose Inchananiyil. Photo: Special arrangement

Kozhikode: Bishop Remigiose Inchananiyil of the Thamarassery diocese has said the protesting people of the high ranges will not hesitate to bleed against the proposed buffer zones or eco-sensitive zones (ESZ) around protected forests.

Inchananiyil, who on Sunday alleged a conspiracy behind the satellite survey of ESZ in the high ranges, continued his crusade while addressing a 'jana jagratha yatra' (public awareness march) at Koorachundu in the district on Monday.

"As long as we're alive, we will not allow this to be implemented in the high ranges," bishop Inchananiyil said. Farmers, locals and other stakeholders have alleged that the setting up of 1km buffer zones along protected forests will impact lakhs of families, besides religious and educational institutions.

Bishop Inchananiyil said the farmers have struggled to set up a living in the high ranges and they will resist attempts to uproot them. "If someone sets foot here with the intention of making it work, rest assured, we who shed our sweat on this land can also bleed."

Meanwhile, the bishop said he was hopeful of a favourable decision from the Kerala government at a high-level meeting that is to be convened on Tuesday.

At least 62 farmers' groups mostly in the panchayats of Koorachundu and Chakkittapara attended the public meeting. The protests are set to intensify in the coming days with the opposition, Congress beginning their agitation on Tuesday.

In June this year, the Supreme Court had directed the setting up of buffer zones in the country. The Kerala government is expected to table a report before the apex court based on its survey.

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