UDF councillors, Corporation employees come to blows
The city Corporation office premises here witnessed unruly scenes on Saturday following a clash between United Democratic Front (UDF) councillors and a section of the Corporation employees.
Eight councillors were injured, and four members of the Kerala Municipality and Corporation Staff Union (KMCSU) were arrested and later released on bail.
The incident occurred when the UDF councillors were picketing in front of the Corporation office entrance in protest against the Corporation’s alleged inaction on the waste management issue.
Trouble began soon after the picketing ended around 10.30 a.m. and the UDF councillors were being led out of the Corporation office premises by the police. As the councillors were being removed, some Corporation employees tried to get past them into the office building, leading to jostling and scuffles between the two groups.
The situation worsened when the two groups started hurling chairs at one another. Kottapura councillor Sadanandan Thai who was badly injured fainted at the scene and was taken to General Hospital.
Soon, additional police personnel were brought in from the Nandavanam SAP camp. It was only after the police arrested and removed the union leaders that the situation came under control.
The councillors alleged that the union members tried to assault them without any provocation. “The Corporation employees had gathered outside the office building even as we were staging our protest. When we ended the picketing peacefully and were trying to move out, they barged into our group and started assaulting us,” Thampanoor councillor R. Harikumar said.
Kamaleswaram councillor M.B. Resmi said the staff members used chairs and sticks to attack the councillors. “They did not even spare the women councillors. Five women councillors have been admitted to hospital. Vazhuthacaud councillor Suresh Kumar also had to be taken to hospital after he experienced chest pain,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Corporation employees and the KMCSU members said it was the councillors who provoked the clash. “They were blocking us from getting into the office. It is only when they started assaulting us that some of our members retaliated. Instead of arresting the councillors, the police took our leaders into custody,” K. Jayadevan, KMCSU State general secretary, said.
The union members later staged a dharna in front of the Nandavanam SAP camp in protest against the arrests.
Mayor K. Chandrika, who visited the agitating union members, gave a written complaint to the City Police Commissioner for arresting the Corporation employees from the office premises without her or the Corporation secretary’s permission. UDF council party leader Johnson Joseph submitted a complaint to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy requesting him to initiate action against the Corporation employees who attacked the councillors.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party councillors also staged a dharna at the office on the waste disposal issue.