CPI(M) Kerala State committee organised fire chain protest in 775 km in the National Highway starting from Manjeswaram in the North to the Parassala in the south as part of agitation against price rise and LPG subsidy cut. State-wide agitation ‘Agnisringhala’ (chain of fire) on Saturday, against price rise of essential commodities and restriction on the number of subsidised LPG cylinders, evoked massive response in the state. As per the initial figures around 30 lakh people cooked food on one side of the National Highway road against the alleged anti-people policies of Union and State governments.,They set up hearths on the roadside and cooked food using firewood. The activists distributed payasam and steamed tapioca to the people thronged to watch the novel protest. The activists and people, mostly women and children, took part in lighting earthen hearths along the National Highway at around 4.30 p.m. Nearly one hearth per metre.
The party described the campaign as a symbolic way of conveying the anger of the common man against the policies of the Centre, including the cut in subsidised LPG and failure to rein in runaway inflation.
Party leaders claimed the response had been overwhelming and spontaneous as food was cooked on nearly one million brick or stone hearths set up on the western side of highways from Manjeswaram in the north to Parassala in the south.
Participating in the protest were wives of leader of opposition V.S. Achuthanandan and state secretary of Kerala CPI-M Pinarayi Vijayan, who cooked rice and tapioca in temporary ovens set up in the heart of the state capital Thiruvananthapuram. cum Vijayan launched the protest at 4.30 p.m. He was later joined by Achuthanandan
"Generally it's the males in our party who take to the streets. But the restriction of six LPG cylinders and the price rise is affecting women in every family," said Pinarayi Vijayan's wife Kamala Vijayan.
The cooked food was later distributed among all those present. CPI-M politburo member M.A. Baby and his wife Betty Baby also joined the protest. In Manjeswaram town of Kasargode district that borders Karnataka, CPI-M's district secretary K.P.Satish Chandran led the protesters, while in Kalyikavilla that borders Tamil Nadu, CPI-M state committee member A. Nagappan led the protest.