Congress, BJP intensify protest against Kerala government

Police use water cannons to disperse protesters seeking action in the gold smuggling case in Kozhikode on Friday.

Police use water cannons to disperse protesters seeking action in the gold smuggling case in Kozhikode on Friday.   | Photo Credit: -

Anti-government agitators owing allegiance to the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) broke physical distancing strictures and staged separate demonstrations across Kerala to highlight the “proximity” of the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) with persons wanted by the law on the charges of gold smuggling and anti-national activity.

The police used water cannons and canes to disperse BJYM protesters at Adoor in Pathanamthitta district.

The police fired a water cannon to disperse a protest organised by the Kerala Student Union (KSU) in Kollam on Saturday demanding the resignation of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. A march taken out by the KSU district committee resulted in a minor clash in front of the Collectorate.

Former MLA Prathapa Varma Thampan inaugurated the march and KSU district president Vishnu Vijayan presided over the function. The protesters were arrested and cases registered against the participants under the Kerala Epidemic Diseases Ordinance.

In Kochi, the Youth Congress organised a protest in compliance with the physical distancing norms. In his inaugural address, Youth Congress State president Shafi Parambil, MLA, said had the Chief Minister and others maintained physical distancing with smugglers, then the Opposition would not have been forced into protests.

He alleged that a person accused of treason continued to be in hiding as part of a bargain not to expose the names of the influential people involved.

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala on Saturday asked the police to take cognisance of the attempt to smuggle gold concealed in an air freight addressed to an official in the consulate of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) here.

He said the offence had acquired a politically severe dimension after the preliminary investigation revealed that Swapna Suresh, a “respondent” in the case registered under the Customs Act, was a close confidant of M. Sivasankar, who was removed from the post of Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan after the scandal broke.Mr. Vijayan could not absolve himself of the responsibility of appointing Swapna Suresh in a critical position in an IT Department subsidiary that handled space and allied strategic sectors.

The woman had gained employment by allegedly furnishing fake credentials, including a forged degree certificate from an other-State university.

Mr. Chennithala said the woman was an almost permanent fixture in the halls of power and the moving force behind several State-sponsored events, including the space project.

The decision of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to book her on the charge of anti-national activities reflected poorly on the government.

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Printable version | Aug 14, 2020 9:06:53 AM |

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