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Monday, August 27, 2007

Why Chithralekha still needs to be supported by citizens' initiatives?

This part of Kerala is predominantly left, as people generally do take it for granted.
But for several factors assuring invariable victory to the CPM candidates in all assembly elections,
Payyanur assembly constituency in Kannur district is much reigned by several unwrit codes of caste and gender. For instance, the dominant social, political and cultural leadership and trade unions here take every care to see that the hierarchies of gender and caste are not disturbed by any ambition of "athiviplavam"as they call it.
What is generally referred to as athiviplavam and anti-left tendencies , or even as goodhalochana with the rightists could mean any kind of defiance or questioning of the dictats of the official CPM leadership or their favourite juniors.
Chithralekha's is a case in point. The dalit woman when married a Ezhava youth just a few years back, there has been almost total withdrawal of good will for the cuople. When Chithra purchased an auto under the JRY loan scheme a couple of years ago, the CITU auto workers union at Edat didn't instantly give permission for her to ply the her auto; on the contrary , the union caused her to wait for several months before allowing her the parking space and the union card.
The auto union controlled by men belonging to the OBC community routinely started harassing Chitralekha at the work place. The prominent among them indulged in every kind of casteist and sexist abuse in words and deeds against Chithralekha, which the others either endorsed by their silent complicity. Chithra formally made complaints to the union only to be scoffed at. And, in more overt display of contempt and voilence like tearing the hood of her vehicle, threatening with dire consequences if she would go to the police, she indeed did make complaint to the police.
The police on their part, too were not willing to antagonize the dominant party and the union by taking proper action in a complaint by a woman belonging to the dalit community.
After having been repeatedly threatened by union leaders for having made complaint to the police on a few previous incidents, Chithralekha was no more in a position to park her vehicle on the original spot. She had to shift the parking to a place nearer to her hut situated at a less visible spot and this greatly affected her earnings and consequently the repayment installments as well.
Worst was yet in in store for Chithralekha. On the night of December 29/30 2005, her vehicle, the only means of livelihood was burned. Following a complaint, the police registered a case and a few union people were questioned in this connection. Even as there were no protests in burning the vehicle, the union people indeed observed auto harthal in protests of the police questioning a few of the comrades in connection with burning of the auto.
i'll come back with another post in this regard, concerning the initiatives started since the incident and continuing till now in support of Chithralekha's hard struggle for her right to live with dignity.

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always want to defend peace, justice, peoples' right to love each other and live with dignity,struggles against parochial visions and hatred;instinctively a defender of socialist and democratic values