SFI activists vandalise Rahul’s office in Wayanad

Eight arrested, CPI(M) orders internal inquiry into the incident

Updated - June 24, 2022 10:04 pm IST

Published - June 24, 2022 09:57 pm IST - Kalpetta

Office of Rahul Gandhi, MP, at Kalpetta in Wayanad after the alleged attack of SFI activists on Friday.

Office of Rahul Gandhi, MP, at Kalpetta in Wayanad after the alleged attack of SFI activists on Friday. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

A 50-member group of Students Federation of India (SFI) activists vandalised Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, MP’s, regional office at Kalpetta in the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency on Friday, setting off a political furore and precipitating a tense Congress and Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] stand-off in the State.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury have tweeted condemning the attacks. The CPI(M) has ordered an internal inquiry into the incident and promised decisive action against the wrongdoers.

Police officer suspended

Meanwhile, the government has suspended Deputy Superintendent of Police, Kalpetta, for not preventing the attack. It has ordered the Additional Director General of Police, State Police Headquarters, to investigate the incident. The ranking officer has a week to submit his findings to the Home Department.

The SFI had taken out a march in Kalpetta town in the afternoon to protest against Mr. Gandhi's alleged apathy towards the plight of Wayanad residents threatened by the Supreme Court's directive to impose a buffer zone within one km radius of ecologically sensitive national parks and bird and wildlife sanctuaries. The march turned violent in front of Mr. Gandhi's town office.

Soon, the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) released a video that ostensibly showed "SFI activists" clambering to the second floor of the office, attacking the MP's staff and vandalising property. The Wayanad police have so far arrested eight "attackers". More arrests are in the offing.

The attack prompted Congress and Youth Congress protests across the State. Congress workers marched to the AKG Centre. They tussled with the police in Wayanad, resulting in injuries to both sides. The police arrested scores of demonstrators and upped security for party offices to pre-empt retaliatory attacks. A galaxy of Congress leaders will descend on Wayanad on Saturday.

SFI activists barging into Rahul Gandhi MP’s office.

SFI activists barging into Rahul Gandhi MP’s office. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary (organisation) K.C. Venugopal said the CPI(M) had paid its customary political tribute to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national leadership by unleashing SFI activists into Mr. Gandhi's office. The "scandal-ridden" LDF government had attempted to divert public attention from its failure to circumvent the Supreme Court order via appeal or legislation.

Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan said Mr. Vijayan had ordered the attack on Mr. Gandhi's office to appease his enablers in the BJP national leadership. He accused the police of enabling the miscreants.

KPCC president K. Sudhakaran's said the CPI(M) should not test the Congress party's patience. The police had reinforced their presence in Wayanad and other districts. Deputy Inspector General of Police, Kannur Range, Rahul Nair rushed to Kalpetta.

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