Fracas over Opposition’s demand for Chandy’s resignation continues; strike in Kazhakuttam total

The stand-off between activists of the Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] on the issue of resignation of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy spiralled out of control and resulted in street violence in different parts of the district on Thursday and Friday.

The police said the problem started when persons suspected to be activists of the CPI(M) threw stones at a vehicle carrying Congress activists at Kazhakuttam late on Thursday. They were returning home after attending the Independence Day celebrations organised by the Congress party at its State headquarters here.

The Congress activists, around 50 of them, disembarked from the bus and destroyed Left Democratic Front (LDF) hoardings, flag posts, and other publicity material.

Persons suspected to be Congress supporters stormed the CPI(M)’s area committee office at Kazhakuttam. Unidentified persons hacked at CPI(M) workers at nearby Kulathoor. Nearly 20 men sustained minor injuries in the fights, which occurred in different localities in Kazhakuttam.

Persons suspected to be CPI(M) activists retaliated, destroying Congress hoardings and flags. The CPI(M) called a general strike in Kazhakuttam on Friday. The strike was near total. The functioning of the Technopark campus was not affected.

Secretariat march

Activists of the Students Federation of India and the Democratic Youth Federation of India took out a protest march to the Secretariat in protest against the alleged Congress action. They destroyed government publicity materials and Congress symbols placed on either side of the arterial M.G. Road.

The police provided protection to both the CPI(M) and the Congress offices in the city to prevent further escalation of violence.

LDF demand

Special Correspondent adds:

The Left Democratic Front (LDF) district committee has demanded that the government take stringent action against Congress activists who went on the rampage in the city on Thursday.

Communist Party of India(Marxist) [CPI(M)] district unit secretary Kadakampally Surendran and other Left Democratic Front (LDF) leaders told presspersons here on Friday that Youth Congress activists, owing allegiance to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who took out a rally as part of the Independence Day celebrations, threw stones at the University Hostel and attacked activists of the LDF who were on a satyagraha near the Martyrs’ Column at Palayam.

They also attacked the offices of the LDF constituents and destroyed the flag posts of other parties on the way.

‘Activists injured’

Returning after the rally, the activists, led by local Congress leader Muneer, Thekkemuku Lalu, Saji Abhilash, and Vinod, targeted the CPI(M) Kazhakuttam area committee office. They attacked the people in the precincts of the office with swords and assaulted three persons, Sunil Kumar, Vivek and Visanth. Sunil sustained serious injuries.

The police remained mute witnesses when the Congress activists unleashed violence. The rivalry between ‘A’ and ‘I’ groups in the Congress was the reason behind the attack, they said.

LDF district unit convener M. Gangadharan Nadar and Revolutionary Socialist Party district unit secretary Ambalathara Sreedharan Nair were present.