KERALA

SFI march against police action

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM July 26. Scores of DYFI and SFI activists today marched to the Secretariat in protest against the police action on SFI volunteers in the city on Thursday.

The activists tried to rush the police cordon at the gates but were pushed back by riot policemen. The march was led by the SFI joint secretary, G. Muralidheeran, the vice-president, Sindhu Joy, and the DYFI State executive member, Rajendra Kumar. The activists later dispersed peacefully after staging a dharna in front of the Secretariat gate.

Anticipating student violence, the city police had been deployed in strength all along the M.G. Road. Police pickets were placed at all junctions. The pickets were manned by officers at the level of Circle Inspectors. Senior officials, including the Commissioner, Rajan Singh, were present at the City Police control room.

The Government had declared a holiday on Friday for all educational institutions in the district in an apparent move to prevent the SFI from mustering its cadre. Traffic was held up along the M.G. Road for several hours in the morning owing to the SFI march. A tense situation prevailed in the Secretariat area.

Shops and commercial institutions downed shutters till the march dispersed peacefully. The Union Health Minister, Shatrughanan Sinha, was delayed for more than an hour from attending a function at private hotel near the Spencer Junction. The city police did not allow the Union Minister's motorcade to pass through the M.G. Road till all the student activists had dispersed.

Inaugurating the SFI dharna, the DYIF leader, Mr. Rajendra Kumar, said the CPI(M) youth wing would extend all support to the SFI's agitation against the UDF decision to allow Plus Two courses in unaided schools.

Meanwhile, the 13 SFI activists, who were arrested in connection with the street violence on Thursday, are under medical care at the Medical College Hospital here. The activists include, the State secretary, M. B. Rajesh, among other district and State-level leaders.

They are likely to be produced before the court on Saturday, an official said.

Meanwhile, police resorted to a mild cane charge to disperse a procession of DYFI workers, at Malayinkeezhu, which turned violent, this evening. According to the police, the DYFI activists stoned four KSRTC buses. A driver, Sreekumar was injured in the incident. Five local DYFI leaders have been admitted to the General Hospital, here.

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