Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan has said that 1,054 police personnel were deployed at different levels for the protection of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in Kannur on Sunday.

Addressing a public meeting organised by the ruling United Democratic Front here on Monday in protest against the attack on Mr. Chandy, allegedly by Communist Party of India (Marxist) activists, Mr. Radhakrishnan said there was criticism from certain quarters against deploying such a huge contingent. However, since the Police Department had the responsibility to ensure total protection for the Chief Minister, it was decided to stick to the decision.

However, the CPI(M) took an unprecedented step on the occasion, he said.

The Minister denied having made indiscriminate action in the aftermath of the attack on the Chief Minister and said arrests of 21 persons had been made on the basis of visuals available with the police.

Alleging that the CPI(M) by denying any role in the attack was, in fact, mocking at the people of the State, Mr. Radhakrishnan said cases were registered against those CPI(M) leaders who were present at the scene of crime. He said the CPI(M) own an explanation to the people as to why it attacked the Chief Minister when he had gone to participate in a function organised by the police.

The Home Minister reiterated that the Opposition Left Democratic Front will not be allowed to carry out its proposed siege of the Chief Minister’s official residence.

Union Minister of State for Labour Kodikunnil Suresh; Jose K. Mani, MP; Tomy Kallani, District Congress Committee president; Congress leader Kurian Joy; and others spoke on the occasion.

Earlier, UDF activists took out a march in the town.

Meanwhile, a hartal was observed in five panchayats coming under Mr. Chandy’ constituency Puthuppally on Monday. Shops remained closed and local buses were kept off the road in the panchayats of Puthuppally, Pampady, Meenadom, Pallickathode, and Kooroppada. Government offices and banks functioned as usual and long-route buses and taxis operated without hindrance. Congress activists took out marches at several places in the district. The police said there had been no reports of violence in connection with the protest marches. The hartal was called by the mandalam committee of the party.

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