Mob burns down 2 latex factories

MALAPPURAM: Two persons were injured when security guards of a latex factory allegedly confronted a group of local agitators at Mampad near Nilambur in the district on Tuesday. One of them was shot in the thigh and the other hacked. Irate people burnt down two latex factories, forcing the authorities to evacuate people living in the neighbourhood. A dawn-to-dusk hartal has been called at Mampad panchayat on Wednesday.

The trouble began at 11 a.m. when the security guards of Mardec R.K. Latex confronted a group of agitators who were protesting against the alleged pollution caused by the effluents from the company. The local people have been protesting against the company on this score for several years. The issue snowballed when the protestors erected a ‘pandal’ in front of the company.

Jasveer Singh, a security guard from Haryana, reportedly shot Panolan Basheer, 24, in the thigh using a pistol. In the ensuing melee, P.T. Junaib, 19, was reportedly hacked with a dagger. Both of them were admitted to the medical college in Kozhikode.

People chased the security guards, caught them, and allegedly thrashed them before handing them over to the police. The police arrested Mr. Jasveer Singh and company manager Santhosh. The police also seized the pistol. District Superintendent of Police (SP) K. Sethuraman said the pistol had a licence.

According to sources, Mr. Jasveer Singh was a former NSG commando. Sources said he shot when he was threatened by the agitators.

The agitators set the factory on fire, leading to explosions of chemical containers. The fire spread to a neighbouring company, Ruby Latex, inflicting heavy damage to the factory.

The fire brigade had a tough time controlling the blaze as thick smoke of latex and other chemicals emanated from the factories. The fire continued for hours.

District Collector M.C. Mohandas ordered evacuation of several families living in the neighbourhood at Tanah, 2 km from Mampad town on the Nilambur route.

A strong police force under the SP rushed to the site and controlled the mob. A case was charged against the agitators for burning down the factories.

The protest of the people continued in the evening when a large demonstration was taken out to the site from Mampad town. Abdurahman Randathani, MLA, inaugurated the rally.

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