Tension prevailed at the village headquarters of Aranmula on Wednesday following alleged ill treatment of local MLA K. Sivadasan Nair by a group of people agitating against the proposed airport project at Aranmula.

The problem started when the group opposed the presence of the MLA at the inaugural function of the annual Vallasadya at the Parthasarathy temple at Aranmula in the forenoon. The agitated group demanded that the MLA be not allowed to light the ceremonial lamp, citing his support for the airport project.

Though a police party, led by Aranmula sub-inspector B.Vinodkumar, put up cordon around the MLA, the group broke it and allegedly manhandled the MLA. The MLA, with his torn shirt, was escorted to the Devaswom office by the police and a group of devotees soon. The MLA was later admitted to the district hospital at Kozhencherry with high blood pressure and contusion on the belly and chest.

The Aranmula Heritage Village Protection Council and the People’s Joint Action Council have been waging an agitation against the airport project that required conversion of the Aranmula puncha (paddy land) and wetland that also houses certain places of worship.

When the news spread, Congress and Youth Congress workers from Pathanamthitta, Kumbanad, Thiruvalla, and nearby places rushed to Aranmula and staged a march to the Aranmula police station and staged sit-in on the road. District Congress Committee president P. Mohanraj addressed the party workers. He alleged that the police had failed to ensure protection for the local MLA.

The agitated Congress men barged into the police station, raising slogans against the police, and destroyed the banners and posters on the Janamaitri Police. The Congress and Youth Congress workers took out a march to the district hospital.

Mr. Mohanraj said the Congress would observe a dawn-to-dusk hartal in the district on Thursday, protesting against the attack on the MLA.

Asked about the incident, the MLA told The Hindu that his only prayer to Lord Parthasarathy, the presiding deity of the Aranmula temple, is to pardon those who have attacked him.

Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran condemned the attack and sought stern action against the culprits.

Calling on the MLA at the hospital, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien alleged that the untoward incidents showed the failure of the Home Department. Mr. Kurien said Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan should act in a responsible manner and take stern action against the culprits.

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