RSS, SFI workers clash at Vattiyurkavu
The district police on Friday arrested at least 36 persons, including striking government employees and their Left-wing supporters, who tried to prevent anti-strike State government employees from reporting for work at various offices and facilities.
On the fourth day of the strike called by Left-wing service organisations in protest against the State government’s decision to implement the contributory pension scheme, striking employees tried to shut down schools and government offices across the district.
The police faced a tough time separating confrontationist groups of striking employees and their pro-government colleagues. At several government offices, the police dissuaded strike supporters who tried to prevent their colleagues from occupying their respective stations inside offices.
There was tension at Vattiyurkavu in the evening when a standoff occurred between Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) workers and a group of Students Federation of India (SFI) activists who took out a march in the locality in support of the striking employees. The police were forced to deploy in strength to prevent the situation from escalating into full-blown street violence.
Left-wing service organisations of Central government employees and nationalised banks took out marches to the Secretariat to express solidarity with the striking State government employees and teachers.
The protest marches disrupted traffic and forced the police to divert rush-hour traffic away from the arterial M.G. Road.
Motorists and two-wheeler riders had to take detours to reach their destinations. Commuters remained stranded at bus stops for several hours.
Communist Party of India [CPI(M)] Central secretariat member E.P. Jayarajan inaugurated a mammoth protest rally taken out by striking employees and their supporters. He said the government, which hung on a thin majority, had no moral or legislative right to implement a scheme that would rob hundreds of thousands of government employees of their pension benefits. He told the government to prepare itself to face a popular agitation in the coming days.
A small group of Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) activists tried to barge through the police cordon in front of the Secretariat gates. The police pushed the activists back. DYFI leader and former Senate member S.P. Deepak pacified the protestors and defused the situation. Traffic in the city reverted to normal by around 2 p.m.