Popular Front holds protest march against controversial survey

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011
surveyThiruvananthapuram: Popular Front of India activists held out a protest march on Monday against the controversial survey at Beemappalli using electronic chips in soaps. Hundreds of activists marched towards the headquarters of Socio Economic Unit Foundation at Vellayambalam, which conducted the mysterious survey ostensibly to find out the health and hygiene habits of the people living in coastal areas. Popular Front activists demanded the state government to bring out the real aims and objectives behind the survey and warned of dire consequences if it failed to do so. Protesters also demanded the authorities to seal the offices of Britain based NGO and arrest those who are responsible for the clandestine survey.
District leaders of Popular Front led the protest march. District president Karamana Saleem inaugurated the march which was blocked by the police in front of the NGO office.
District secretary Nudumangad Sulfi, Pravasi Forum state secretary Ibrahim Kutty, SDPI district vice president Karamana Rasaq, Lajnathul Muallimeen zonal president Pravachanambalam Ashraf Moulavi, Kerala Muslim Jama-ath Council district secretary Ansari Manakkad addressed the protesters.
A bathing soap-related survey being conducted for Britain-based organisations in Beemapalli near Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, was called off after residents panicked.
Based on police complaints filed by residents, local police took two officials of the surveying agency, Socio Economic Unit Foundation (SEUF), an NGO, into custody, but released them later.
The survey was being conducted ostensibly for the stated purpose of finding out the health and hygiene habits of the people living in coastal areas, to which the residents of Beemapalli consented without knowing the presence of electronic chip in it. However, once the realisation of an embedded chip in the bathing soap dawned upon the locals, they feared that the soap might ‘eavesdrop’ on them or even film them in the shower.
The health and sanitation survey involved distribution of soaps with embedded electronic chips to respondents near Beemapally. Those who promised to use the soap for five days and return the remaining portion were rewarded with Rs400. This incentive attracted many customers to take part and surveyors made consumers participating in the survey sign documents agreeing for the survey.
The respondents were supposed to use the soap for five days. The survey team planned to return after five days and collect the used soaps from respondents to download information.

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