AIYF, Congress activists clash; bombs hurled at DCC office

Unidentified persons on a motorbike hurled two crude bombs at the district office of the Congress party near Bakery Junction here around 8.30 p.m. on Monday.

No one was injured. The building sustained minor damage. The police said the attack could be in response to an assault on All India Youth Federation workers by Youth Congress activists near the Leader of the Opposition’s official residence in the morning. The police have accorded protection to all party offices in the district in the wake of the arson attack. They have intensified patrolling amid worries that the stand-off between the ruling front and the Opposition in the Assembly on the solar scam would lead to serious street-level violence between their party cadres in the coming days.

The police fear that the political discord would also be exploited by criminal and divisive elements to rock public peace.

The police have stepped up vigilance in communally sensitive areas, including coastal neighbourhoods with a history of street violence. City Police Commissioner P. Vijayan has put anti-riot “striking units” on standby for quick deployment. The police are in touch with the district magistrate and have asked him to be prepared to issue “prohibitory orders” if the situation warrants so.

The chain of violence commenced on Monday morning when Youth Congress workers and the pro-CPI All India Youth Federation of India (AIYF) activists clashed in front of Cantonment House, the official residence of the Leader of the Opposition.

The Congressmen, who outnumbered AIYF workers by at least five to one, inflicted injuries on AIYF State secretary G. Krishna Prasad among others. Earlier, the AIYF workers had destroyed a government publicity board announcing Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s mass contact programme scheduled to be held next month.

The incident triggered protests in different parts of the district, including the rural police district. The police said their surveillance cameras could have captured the registration number of the motorbike involved in the attack.

Investigators were also looking at a set of Left activists who have been involved in petrol and crude bomb attacks against the police and public property in past political agitations.