Highly successful Kerala businessman Kochouseph Chittilappilly is making headlines again. Having drawn media attention nationwide by voluntarily donating one of his kidneys to a truck driver two years ago, on Friday he announced a reward of Rs5 lakh to the housewife who took on political activists leading a blockade of chief minister Oommen Chandy’s official residence in the state capital.
“Being a responsible citizen, I believe that it is my duty to back and encourage her fight against the political parties’ violation of citizens’ basic rights. As a token of my support to her, I would like to donate Rs5 lakh to her,’’ said Chittilappilly, who built the 1000 crore V-Guard Group out of scratch in the last two decades, in Kochi.
Thanking him, the housewife, Sandhya, said: “Appreciation from a person like Chittilappilly is really a morale booster. This will further strengthen my resolve to oppose tooth and nail the flagrant violation of human rights of hapless citizens by political parties in the state.’
For the last few days, Left Democratic Front (LDF) activists, led by the Communist Party of India Marxist (CPM) , have been laying siege to Chandy’s residence at Nandankode in the city.
The activists have been demanding his resignation over the solar panel scam.
The blockade, planned for 150 days also blocks the way to Sandhya’s houses among others that are behind Cliff House, the CM’s official residence.
Every day, residents’ house entrances were blocked from 10am to 12 noon because of the agitation, making it impossible for them to step in or out. After dropping off her children at school on Thursday morning, Sandhya found that police barricades erected around the CM’s house to protect it from agitators had blocked her entrance as well. After all her requests to clear the way fell on deaf ears, CPM district secretary Kadakampalli Surenderan and former ports and youth affairs minister V Surendran Pillai, who led the day’s agitation had to face her music.
Comments from agitators that she looks like Saritha Nair, the main accused in the scandal in which Chandy’s personal assistants are involved, and that she was an agent of the Congress, worsened the situation further. Finding that she was determined, the leaders told the police to remove the barricade blocking the entrance. Mustering courage from her protest, residents took out a march to Cliff House on Friday. Leaders and police promised them that it would be open all the time henceforth.
“We should not bow before the organised force of political parties. If I had not protested, the entrance of our houses would remain shut from morning till noon for 150 days. How can we allow it,” Sandhya told reporters. Shooting to fame overnight, her Facebook account was flooded with message from supporters.