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Gang threatens activists, farmers near Mettur

17 August 2012

Special Correspondent
The Hindu

A gang on Wednesday allegedly threatened and abused a group of activists and farmers campaigning against chemical industries causing pollution in the Cauvery, in hamlets around Gonur village at Mettur.

The activists have been campaigning since August 13 to urge the residents of Gonur, where the chemical factories are located, to attend the gram sabha meeting on Independence Day to take up the pollution issue.

They have been distributing pamphlets against the industrial pollution, which, they claim, has ruined the lives of the villagers.

The 15-member armed gang allegedly threatened the campaign group, including a woman activist from a Chennai-based non-governmental organisation (NGO), Shreela Manohar, and farmers from Gonur, G. Madeshwaran and Ganesan, when they were having tea at a stall.

Abuses hurled

"Angry at our campaign against the polluting industries, the hired goons threatened our men. They asked the 26-year old Chennai-based woman activist to leave Mettur immediately or face dire consequences. They also hurled abuses at her for taking up the issue of pollution," said Piyush Sethia, a Salem-based social worker involved in the campaign.

The activists claimed that industrial effluent had also polluted water resources in the predominantly agricultural village whose wells have abundant water.

"Agriculture activities have been affected and water in the wells cannot be used since it is totally contaminated," said Mr. Madeshwaran.

The villagers highlighted the pollution caused by the chemical units and sought reparation from the State for the contaminated groundwater.

"This is the second incident in two months when the contractors and goons, who claim to be the beneficiaries of the plants, have threatened the members of the farmersí union and activists who are fighting against polluting industries," said Mr. Sethia.

Ms. Shreela has lodged a complaint with the Karumalaikoodal police at Mettur.

They have been campaigning against chemical industries causing pollution in the Cauvery

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