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With A Brolley Against Injustice

With A Brolley Against Injustice

This man in India has survived an incredible 723 days on just bread and water in a lonely protest against rapacious developers who have robbed him of his tiny plot of land.

With his umbrella tilted over his left shoulder to protect him from the sun, Sukumaran Menon has become a regular fixture of everyday life in the south-western city of Bangalore.

He carries no placards protesting against the injustice, he does not like his photograph being taken, but he has absolute blind faith that if he continues sitting there like his hero Mahatma Gandhi at some stage he will see justice.

The 75-year-old man has even chosen to sit on a bench near a statue of Gandhi and vows: "Like him, I will continue my protest until justice is done."

He is already thin and his teeth are falling out due to lack of a proper diet, but it is not deterring him from his silent protest.

A government employee for more than 40 years, he had invested all he had in a piece of land - and he lost it all to the state government when they seized it to sell to developers.

This, he claims, is his final fight for justice, the Gandhian Way - a peaceful fast that has been going on for the last two years.

He sits peacefully under the statue come rain or shine from 8am until 6pm with only his body to protect him from the elements, then goes home to his family.

"I do not talk, the government should see my plight and talk," is all he says.

When pressed he added: "They took my land away from me to make a vast profit with a development company. Neither they nor the company have offered me any cash for what they took, so how can this be right in what we call the world's biggest democracy?"

The local government however is also responding with silence and is refusing to discuss his case, saying his land was subject to a compulsory purchase order and that is the end of the matter.

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