Traffic along MG Road comes to a standstill for around three hours
The protracted stand-off between the government and Opposition parties over the gold smuggling case resulted in yet another violent street fight as youth organisations clashed with the police in the State capital for the fourth straight day on Tuesday.
Refusing to back out from their demand for Higher Education Minister K.T. Jaleel’s resignation, the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party youth outfits — Youth Congress and Yuva Morcha — undertook Secretariat marches, leaving several activists injured as the police resorted to force to quell the agitations.
Also read: Stir for Jaleel’s resignation turns violent in Kerala
The police lathicharged the protesters after many activists perched atop the barricades erected in front of the Secretariat and chose to ignore the repeated calls made by the law enforcers to disperse. While several rounds of water jets were sprayed on the protesters, the police also had to resort to the use of smoke grenades and tear gas shells.
Traffic along MG Road came to a standstill for around three hours as the demonstrators occupied both sides of the road during the confrontation.
The Youth Congress agitation, which began at 11 a.m., was led by MLAs Shafi Parambil and K.S. Sabarinadhan, the State president and vice president of the organisation respectively. Following the protest meet, the activists attempted to topple the barricades.
With initial attempts to remove the agitators turning futile, the police posse adopted aggressive means. While five activists who sustained injuries were shifted to hospitals, the others clashed with the police again, accusing the latter of manhandling the legislators. They also laid siege to the road for a long time. Later, nearly 25 protesters, including the MLAs, were arrested and let off on bail at the Armed Reserve camp. The organisation agitated again in the afternoon.
Long march by Yuva Morcha
Shortly afterwards, a long march taken out by Yuva Morcha in protest against the death of Vellarada native Anu S., who committed suicide two weeks ago citing unemployment, reached the Secretariat. O. Rajagopal, MLA, inaugurated the valedictory meet of the long march, and the activists soon trained their focus on their demand for Dr. Jaleel’s resignation. While it took little time to turn unruly, the police adopted a similar strategy against the activists.
Nearly 15 activists, including Yuva Morcha State president C.R. Prabhul Krishna, were injured in the clash. Some of them also sustained head injuries. Later, BJP workers led by district president V.V. Rajesh laid siege to MG Road for nearly an hour before concluding their agitation by 2 p.m. He announced that party State president K. Surendran will lead a mass demonstration in front of the Secretariat on Wednesday.
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