Today the pesticide industry sent four employees to ‘picket’ our office. We know that they were employees because when asked, they told us “We work at United Phosphorus Limited” a major producer of pesticides and added further “we have been sent here by our boss”. They brought with them posters and slogans. We offered them water, tea and chairs to sit on.
This is the latest in the long-standing fight of CSE regarding the poisoning of Padre village because of endosulphan pesticide. It must be recalled, what this case is about.
In 2001 CSE had checked soil, water, blood and food in the village of Padre in Kerala, where local doctors were finding very high levels of reproductive and neurological abnormalities. The tests found very high levels of a pesticide, endosulphan, which was aerially sprayed on cashew plantations, forgetting that people lived in villages below.
The industry rebutted our study and its own commissioned study found nothing. No endosulphan. No pesticides. Then later, the National Institute of Occupational Health, on the direction of the National Human Rights Commission, also collected samples from this poisoned village.
It confirmed presence of endosulphan in blood and other samples. In its 2002 report it said that this pesticide was the causative factor of the deadly diseases in the village.
After many years of back and forth the pesticide was finally banned for use in Kerala by the Union government. But even now the victims of endosulphan continue to suffer and die in silence. The pesticide industry refuses to take responsibility.
Industry has in the past years done everything to intimidate CSE and other researchers who have revealed the deadly tale. They have sent us legal notices, they have called press conferences to say our research is fraud, they have distributed obscene cartoons and now they have ‘picketed’ us. But they do not take us to court.