Protest against ‘police attack’ on agitators

The Left Democratic Front (LDF) State committee has called for a dawn-to-dusk (12-hour) hartal in the State on Wednesday in protest against the ‘police attack’ on LDF MLAs and protestors here on Tuesday and also to press for Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s resignation over the solar scam.

Briefing reporters after a meeting of the committee, LDF convener Vaikom Viswan said the front had decided to launch a series of agitations from July 12, demanding a judicial probe into the scam and the resignation of Mr. Chandy. Since a hartal was observed in Alappuzha district on Tuesday, the LDF Alappuzha district committee will take a decision on joining Wednesday’s hartal.

Trade unions will take out a Secretariat march on July 12. Farm workers’ organisations affiliated to the LDF will march to the Secretariat on July 15. This will be followed by a students’ march on July 16 and a youth march on July 19. The LDF will organise a public meting here on July 18. Public meetings will be held at all district headquarters on July 19, 20, and 21. LDF MPs, MLAs, State leaders, and all elected representatives in Thiruvananthapuram will stage a 24-hour satyagraha before the Secretariat on July 22. The front will launch an indefinite strike before the Secretariat and all district headquarters from July 24.

Use of police

The LDF convener accused Mr. Chandy of using the Home Department to upset the probe into the scam. Just as his personal staff was arrested in connection with the scam, Mr. Chandy too should be arrested and questioned. The government was using the police to suppress the surge of protests. The police and goondas were being used to attack the protestors. A goonda from Puthuppally had attacked a woman AIYF activist on Monday. The office of C. Divakaran, MLA, and the offices of LDF constituents were being targeted. As many as 165 grenades and tear-gas shells were hurled at the LDF MLAs and protestors in the city on Tuesday, he said.

Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan was admitted to hospital after he complained of breathlessness and uneasiness when a tear-gas canister went off barely a few metres away from where he was on a sit-in in front of the Secretariat. Former Ministers C. Divakaran and V. Surendran Pillai, CPI(M) district secretary Kadakampally Surendran and CPI district secretary Venjarammoodu Sasi were among those hospitalised after being hit by tear gas.

Earlier in the Assembly, Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan said that as in the case of the Chief Minister’s personal assistant (since dismissed) Tenny Joppan, who too was named by the complainant in his cheating allegation, Mr. Chandy too would become an accused in the case.

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