Police action against K-rail protestors rocks Kerala Assembly

UDF legislators staging a sitting protest against police action

UDF legislators staging a sitting protest against police action

The arguably rising resistance to K-Rail (Silverline) roiled the Assembly for the second straight day on Friday, with the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) opposition boycotting the proceedings to protest the police action against local community groups, who had tried to prevent revenue surveyors from fixing the alignment of the proposed semi high speed railway line at Madapally near Changanassery in Kottayam on Thursday.

UDF legislators attempted to drown the Question Hour in loud sloganeering, prompting a sharp reaction from Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

"The opposition has subverted the sanctity of the question hour by using it as a platform to denigrate the government. They have no truth on their side, only lies and canards. Ideally, the speaker should exercise the chair's authority and do what is appropriate", he said.

Speaker M. B. Rajesh asked UDF legislators, who had trooped to the well of the House, to return to their seats. However, they crowded around the Speaker's rostrum, holding placards and banners damning the police "highhandedness".

LDF legislators alleged the opposition had made a virtue of disrupting the House when it weighed matters of public interest.

Leader of Opposition V. D. Satheesan countered Mr. Rajesh's claim that there was no precedent for disruption of question hour.

"After Madapally, the UDF cannot pretend everything is normal and participate in the House proceedings. The police had brutalised women and children. They had terrorised ordinary families fearful of losing their homes, land and livelihood to K-Rail. The mega project offered scant benefits to the local community. The opposition has merely done its constitutional duty", he said.

Mr. Satheesan alleged misogyny was the hallmark of the Pinarayi Vijayan government. Under the CM's watch, Students Federation of India (SFI) activists had repeatedly targeted women Kerala Students Union (KSU) workers on college campuses. The police invariably let off the offenders with a light slap.

Mr. Satheesan said the UDF leaders were headed to Madapally to support anti-Silverline agitators. On Saturday, the UDF would organise anti-Silverline protests in 100 centres across Kerala.

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Printable version | Sep 30, 2022 8:27:57 pm |