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Jazeera takes her struggle against sand mafia to Delhi

Jazeera takes her struggle against sand mafia to Delhi

Thiruvananthapuram: With her two-month-long dharna outside the state secretariat agianst sand mafia failing to yield results, 31-year-old mother of three minor children Jazeera has now shifted her struggle to the national capital.

Jazeera and her children, who also sat with her in the sit-in, left for New Delhi from here by train Friday to continue her struggle before parliament.

While leaving the state capital, Jazeera regretted that the Kerala government did not give due attention to her campaign for a crack down on illegal sand mining by a network of "mafia with high connections".

Jazeera said mining of sand, mainly for construction purposes, especially for big projects of real estate sharks, has been causing severe damage to the environment, especially to the fragile coastal ecosystem across Kerala.

Though she and her children--one of them just two years old and others of primary school age-- were alone in the sit-in here, her campaign had received support from environmental groups, socio-cultural groups and media.

Speaking at a gathering of her supporters before catching the train, Jazeera regretted that mainstream political parties had ignored her agitation.

Jazeera, who hails from Madayi village in Kannur in north Kerala, started her struggle a year ago by staging a protest against extraction of sand from Neerozhukkumchal beach near her native village.

She said though she had approached the government seeking stern action against sand miners, authorities refused to effectively intervene. Before taking her struggle to the state capital in early August, she also staged a sit-in before the Kannur Collectorate.

During the sit-in, the authorities had attempted to shift her children from the pavement in front of the secretariat to a children's home, but the move triggered widespread protests from activists, forcing them to give up the idea.

People from different walks of life, including actor Suresh Gopi, had come out in support of Jazeera and offered to meet the educational expenses of her children--Shifana, Rizwana and Muhammad.

Before leaving for New Delhi, Jazeera said she was ready to suffer "any consequence" in her struggle for the cause.


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