Thiruvananthapuram | An embarrassed CPI(M) leadership in Kerala today distanced itself from a controversial statement of state CITU secretary K P Sahadevan that agitation by women plantation workers in Munnar had the backing of a ‘Tamil extremist group’.
Shortly after Sahadevan made the remark at Munnar, CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the remark was factually incorrect. Trade union leaders should not make provocative statements, he said, adding, the CPI(M) did not endorse the views expressed by its trade union wing leader.
However, when the issue triggered a row, Sahadevan retracted the statement. Meanwhile, CITU state president Annthalavattom Anandan said the union leadership did not agree with Sahadevan’s remark. Reacting to the statement, state Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala said neither state police nor the intelligence had any such information.
I do not know how the CITU leader got the information, he said, adding, the strike was a success of the workers. The nine-day agitation by thousands of women tea plantation workers in Munnar ended yesterday with the management of Kannan Devan Hills Plantations Company agreeing to the agitators’ major demands in a marathon discussion chaired by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
The strike’s significance was that workers organised it without the backing of any trade union or political party. Though, the striking women had kept many political and trade union leaders, irrespective of party lines, at bay, CPI(M) veteran V S Achuthanandan received a warm welcome. He sat with the agitators till the government announced the agreement.
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