The Kayamkulam police have on Friday arrested 18 people and registered cases against nearly 200 persons in connection with Thursday night’s attack on Food and Civil Supplies Minister C. Divakaran’s vehicle at the Mukkada Junction near Kayamkulam.

A large crowd, which turned furious after the police failed to reach on time to take a youth injured in a bike accident to hospital, had stopped the police pilot jeep and the car in which the Minister was travelling and damaged the Minister’s car around 10 p.m. on Thursday.

The Minister had escaped unhurt and later proceeded to Thiruvananthapuram along with Speaker K. Radhakrishnan, who passed by around 11.00 p.m.

The crowd got irate when two youngsters were injured in a bike accident around 9.30 p.m. at the junction, situated on the National Highway-47. Reji (26), died on the spot while his co-passenger, Biju (27), was injured seriously. Though the locals informed the police, a police jeep rushing to the spot met with an accident and could not reach on time, police said. The crowd, numbering over 200, got furious and blocked the highway. It is said the crowd also prevented a local television channel crew from taking the injured to hospital on their vehicle. It was at this time that the Minister came along.

The situation was tense till late into the night, forcing Inspector General of Police (Ernakulam Range) Vinson M. Paul and other senior police officers to rush to the spot. Mr. Paul issued directions to the police to immediately take action against the persons who had caused the damage and blocked the highway. Accordingly, 18 persons were arrested and produced before the court on Friday, while cases were registered against about 200 people, under charges of obstructing the police, damaging public property, blocking the national highway and disturbing law and order situation, among others.

The second person injured in the accident, Biju, was shifted to the Alappuzha Medical College Hospital around 11 p.m., where he is undergoing treatment.

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