Activist's suicide: Locals block bid to reopen Malappuram plastic waste treatment unit

Malappuram protest
Residents of Pullikal region in Malappuram protest against reopening of waste treatment plant. Photo: Manorama

Malappuram: Residents of Pullikal region in Kerala's Malappuram district blocked an attempt to reopen the plastic treatment unit which provoked cultural activist Razak Payambrottu to kill himself.

The police arrived at the site and prevented the authorities from opening the plant after the local residents created a ruckus.

The 55-year-old local cultural activist was found hanging on the premises of a panchayat office building in Malappuram last Friday. Razak was upset over Pulikkal village panchayat's alleged apathetic attitude towards his frequent complaints against a plastic waste treatment unit near his house. A bundle of complaints, which he had submitted to the CPM-run panchayat administration in this regard, was also reportedly found near his lifeless body. However, police in Kondotty said that the reason for the death could be ascertained only in a detailed probe.

Local people alleged that Razak had submitted several complaints to the panchayat against the plastic waste plant but the authorities had not taken any action. His elder brother died a few months ago due to lung ailments likely brought about due to pollution from this waste processing plant.

A known cultural and social activist in the area, Razak was the former secretary of the Mappila Kala Academy in Kondotty. He also published an evening newspaper titled 'Kondotty Times' and ran a local cable TV channel.

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