Pro-Left youth go on the rampage

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, JULY 24. Activists of the pro-CPI(M) Students Federation of India (SFI) and the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) battled with the police and set ablaze government vehicles in several parts of Kerala today, alleging that the wrong education policies of the Government were responsible for the suicide of a Dalit girl in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday.

The protesters also attacked banks in various centres, raising slogans accusing the banks of refusing to give her an education loan.

The girl, Rajani S. Anand, a third-year engineering student, had committed suicide by jumping from a seven-storeyed government building in Thiruvananthapuram, allegedly because of her family's inability to foot the expenses of her education in a self-financing college run by the State-owned Institute of Human Resource Development in Electronics.

College attacked

The College of Engineering, Adoor, in Pathanamthitta district, where the girl was studying, was also attacked by the protesters, who went around smashing windowpanes and breaking furniture.

The police fired water cannon and burst stinger grenades and teargas shells to disperse a mob which tried to push past a barricade erected across the road leading to the official residence of the Chief Minister, A. K. Antony here.

Over eight government vehicles were either stoned or set ablaze in Thiruvananthapuram. Banks and their roadside ATM counters too were attacked.

In Kannur, the Tourism Minister, P. Sankaran, was injured when his car came in for attack. The protesters blocked his car at the venue of a public function and smashed its windscreen after grappling with the policemen. He received a cut in his wrist. Violence was reported from Kozhikode, Malappuram, Thrissur and Kochi also, with the protesters damaging scores of government vehicles.

Held hostage

The pro-CPI All India Youth Federation (AIYF) held the commissioner for the Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes hostage in his office in Thiruvananthapuram for several minutes and damaged the properties there.

The police arrested 13 activists in connection with this incident. Nine DYFI activists too were taken into custody for the other attacks in the city.

In Kochi, activists of the pro-Congress Kerala Students Union (KSU) locked up the city branch of a bank, trapping the employees and customers inside.

The police later released them. The Government today announced holidays for all educational institutions in the State on Monday and Tuesday.

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