labels: coca cola india, soft drinks
Coca-Cola faces ire as Kerala Maoist group ransacks go-down news
James Paul
31 August 2003

Kochi: The members of the Ayyankali Pada, claimed to be a Maoist group, have ransacked a go-down of Coca-Cola and other soft drink products at Kadavanthara, near here, and tried to set it ablaze. The blaze was put out by the Fire Force. Nobody was injured and there was no major damage to property.

City police commissioner Vinod Thomas says the modus operandi suggested the involvement of the Ayyankali Pada. "The attackers came singly and carried out the attack. They did not use explosives."

According to another police source, the attackers carried kerosene in cans. They set on fire a few crates of soft drinks. While fleeing, they shouted slogans against multinational corporations.

One of the partners of the marketing firm that operates the go-down said the attackers numbered around 15. According to him, they raised slogans like "Ayyankali Pada Zindabad." They brandished swords and iron rods.

Six employees were on the premises. Around 400 bottles and a few crates were damaged, he said. The premises were strewn with broken soft drink bottles and pamphlets, thrown by the attackers, which carried "revolutionary messages."

The pamphlets exhorted the people to boycott soft drinks manufactured by "imperialists" and gave a call to destroy such products, since they were found to contain "poisonous residues."

The pamphlet said attempts were being made at the state and central government level to protect multinational soft drink companies, despite laboratory findings that they were "toxic." It stated: "The companies are trying new ways to win over consumers. All democratic powers should rally against the companies that put up factories in Plachimada and Kanjikode, Palakkad."

Members of the Ayyankali Pada have in recent years planned or resorted to a series of sporadic but high-profile acts of violence in Kerala, seeking to highlight perceived instances of injustice and inequity.

In one sensational instance, they held hostage for nine hours the district collector of Palakkad, W R Reddy, in his office in 1996, over the issue of allotment of land to tribal people.

 

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Coca-Cola faces ire as Kerala Maoist group ransacks go-down