The District Collectorate here resembled a battle zone on Wednesday as the protest by pro-Left Democratic Front youth organisations against the government's decision to raise the retirement age took a violent turn with the protestors going berserk inside the Collectorate premises and the police deployed in large numbers resorting to force to disperse the protestors.
Several protestors were injured when the march to the Collectorate by the youth organisations including the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) and the All India Youth Federation (AIYF) turned violent.
While the protestors pelted stones at the police and the Collectorate, the police lathicharged the protestors to break the protest. Windowpanes and glass doors on the front part of the Collectorate were smashed in the heavy stone-pelting by protesting youths. Some vehicles parked inside the Collectorate compound were also damaged in the stone pelting. The protestors, who barged into the Collectorate building at around 11-30 a.m. also tried to enter the chamber of District Collector Rathan Kelkar on the first floor of the two-storey Collectorate building. They staged a sit-in in front of the Chamber when the police stopped them. Later the police arrested and removed the protestors.
The protestors said that al least 20 youths who participated in the march were injured in the police action. The tension broke out when the protestors pushed through the barricades and entered the Collectorate compound. The protestors later staged a protest march in the town. The police said that at least 50 protestors were nabbed in connection with the incidents here. Superintendent of Police Rahul R. Nair reached the spot when the situation turned violent.
The march was led by DYFI and AIYF leaders including Binoy Kuryan, Mahesh Kakkath, P. Ajayakumar, P. Santhosh, M.A. Rajesh and P. Prashanth. The march turned violent immediately after it was inaugurated by DYFI leader A.N. Shamseer.