The protest by the Left Youth organizations DYFI and AIYF against the increase in retirement age of State government employees, here on Wednesday turned violent as the agitating youth resorted to stone pelting and beating up the police with the sticks they carried in the form of flag staff and police resorted to lathi charge and tear gassing to disperse the irate mob. Six police personnel including a DySP, camera persons and agitators who were injured in the mêlée have been admitted to hospital.
The area in front of the district collectorate resembled battle field with chappals, stones, and splinters of tear gas shells strewn all over the place when the nearly one hour battle which started around noon came to a close. The agitating youth who commenced their march from Thirunakkara reached the western gate of the district headquarters and tried to barge into the barricades erected by the police.
The police started charging after a few of the agitators got on to the barricades and hit the DySP with a ‘flagstaff’ on his head. Agitators tried to fight back pelting stones and hitting the police with the sticks they had in hands but the police fired tear gas shells forcing the agitating mob to run for cover.
Vinod, camerman of the local cable TV network ‘Cabnet’ was injured when shrapnel from the teargas shell hit his leg. He has been admitted to Kottayam district hospital with deep knee injuries. A pedestrian, 65 year old Abbas from Ettumanur who jumped from the first floor of a commercial building when protesters ran into it for cover, has also been admitted to district hospital with leg injuries.
Kottayam DySP P D Radhakrishnan who received serious head injuries and Armed Reserved Camp constable P C Saju who received injuries on the nose have been admitted to district hospital. Other police personnel who received injuries in the action are Kottayam (West) CI A J Thomas, Kottayam (west) SI Tomy Sebastian, Gandhi Nagar SI Nirmal Bose and civil police officer Binu Ravindran.
More than 20 activists of DYFI and AIYF have been admitted to hospitals.
Later when police tried to disperse the agitators who were trying to regroup were reprimanded by LDF leaders K J Thomas and V N Vasavan leading another round of verbal altercation. The LDF took out a march to protest against the police action against the agitating youth, in the evening.