Widespread violence outside Kerala Assembly

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala: 13/03/2015:Police stand guard near the State Assembly during the protest by the LDF and the BJYM.......Photo:S.Gopakumar.   | Photo Credit: S_GOPAKUMAR

The unruly scenes inside the State Assembly took a violent form outside on Friday, as Left Democratic Front (LDF) supporters tried to barge past police barricades and get closer to the Assembly. Their attempts failing, the next resort was stone pelting and arson, which left two government vehicles completely gutted, nearly 40 policemen, including senior officials, injured, and several scores of activists hurt after police lathicharged the protestors.

The violence began after news came out from the Assembly that Finance Minister K.M. Mani had managed to present the Budget despite efforts by the Opposition to stall the same. LDF supporters, who were camping outside the main gate of the Assembly from last night and those waiting on the PMG, Mascot Hotel sides, turned irate and began to push past the barricades erected by the police. This was followed by stone pelting, and even as the police lobbed tear gas shells to disperse the mob, a police bus parked near PMG junction went up in flames.

A little while later, even as CPI(M) State secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and other legislators were taking out a protest march towards the Museum side, DYFI activists set a Bolero jeep of the Medical Education Department, parked near Thamburanmukku, on fire. The driver Shajimon and his colleague were threatened to be set ablaze along with the jeep if they resisted, Mr. Shajimon said.

A vehicle belonging to M.A. Wahid, MLA, too was pelted with stones near Kunnukuzhy. The tear gas retaliation and lathicharge by the police continued intermittently, as the protestors returned with more stones, mostly concentrating in the PMG and Palayam sides, till about 12.30 p.m..

According to H. Venkatesh, City Police Commissioner, the police maintained ‘maximum restraint’ before resorting to the lathicharge. “But they were very violent right from the start, and though we tried to prevent a lathicharge, the continuing attacks on the police and the destruction of vehicles could not be allowed,” he said.

At least 40 policemen were injured, including Deputy Commissioner of Police, S. Ajeetha Begum, who sustained an injury on her arm after being hit by a bottle allegedly pelted by the protestors. Sheen Tharayil, Circle Inspector, Medical College, was admitted to hospital after he was attacked by the protestors with flagpoles and stones.

The violence, in fact, had begun in the wee hours of Friday, when LDF supporters and activists of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Moracha clashed at least at three spots after arguments, police said. While there were two clashes near the Assembly premises around 1 a.m., another group clashed near the Thampanoor Railway Station as well.

BJYM activists, however did not clash with the police, and began dispersing from the area around 11.30 a.m., declaring their protest a victory.

Police have identified several of the agitators and had arrested around five of them by noon.

One LDF supporter, who collapsed near the Assembly gate around 6.30 a.m., died in hospital. He was identified as Rajappan, 64, of Manja near Nedumangad. He was the area secretary of the Karshaka Sangham, the farmers’ wing of the CPI(M), police said.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 8:37:38 PM |

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