KERALA

DYFI march turns violent in city

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, JULY 24. The city witnessed rioting, burning of Government vehicles and attacks on banking institutions for the second day today with Left wing agitators taking to the streets alleging that Rajani. S. Anand, a computer-engineering student who committed suicide on Thursday, was a `victim' of the Government's `commercialisation' of the professional education sector.

More than 10 activists and eight policemen were injured when a DYFI march to the Chief Minister's official residence was stopped by the police at the Devaswom Board junction. The violence started at around 11-30 a.m. when the protestors in the front row of the march tried to push through the iron barricade set up by the police. Those bringing up the rear started pelting stones at the policemen stationed behind the barricade.

Water cannons used

The police responded by using water cannons, stinger grenades and tear gas shells to disperse the protestors. After being driven back, the activists re-grouped and staged a dharna at the junction under the leadership of the DYFI all India president, K. N. Balagopal.

Earlier, on their way to the Devaswom Board junction, the marchers had pelted stones at the State Bank of India (SBI) office inside the LMS compound. The protestors had also damaged the ATM centre of the Federal Bank Of India at the Devaswom Board junction.

On their way back from the dharna, a group of activists smashed the windscreens and attempted to set on fire two Government vehicles parked inside the Corporation office compound.

Employee injured

By 12-30 p.m., groups of unidentified persons started targeting Government owned vehicles in different parts of the city. A Kerala University employee, Vijaya Kumaran, was seriously injured when he attempted to save a bundle of question paper packets from a car belonging to the University that was attacked and set on fire by some youth near the AKG Centre. The employee sustained a back injury when he jumped the compound wall of the University with the bundle in his hand. The police arrested three youth from the spot. One managed to escape by jumping the wall of the University College. The police who tried to pursue him were turned back by a hail of stones thrown at them from inside the college campus.

Equipment destroyed

Nearly Rs. three lakhs worth of communication equipment (E 10 B Line Cards worth Rs. 20,000 each) were destroyed when a BSNL vehicle was set on fire by unidentified persons near the PMG junction. The cards were being taken in the vehicle to Pathanamthitta.

At Plamoodu, the windscreen of a police jeep was smashed. The driver, Krishnan Nair, was injured in the incident. The first spree of violence stopped by around 2-30 p.m. The attacks on Government vehicles resumed at around 4 p.m. when three motorcycle borne youth set on fire a Ford Ikon car of the Tourism Department car that was parked in front of a workshop at Nalumukku in Pettah. Soon after, a car belonging to the Directorate of Technical Education was damaged at Pettah.

At around 6 p.m., the official car of the Coirfed chairman was set on fire near the Reserve Bank of India.

Picketing

The activists of the Communist Party of India (CPI), today laid siege to the police station in Poojappura in the city this evening, protesting against the delay in producing in court, 19 persons belonging to its youth wing, the AIYF, who had been arrested in the morning from the office of the Director of Scheduled Caste Development.

The AIYF workers were arrested on charges of obstructing the functioning of the directorate and also `gheraoing' the directorIt was only after senior leaders of the CPI held talks with police officials around 8 p.m., that the arrested were produced before court.

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