BJP Mahila Morcha activists try to pull down a police barricade put up at the Secretariat gate during their protest demanding the resignation of Higher Education Minister K.T. Jaleel on Monday.   | Photo Credit: S MAHINSHA

Protests take a violent turn, many injured in clashes

Spate of demonstrations near Secretariat seeking Jaleel’s resignation


Demonstrations taken out by youth organisations and feeder outfits of Opposition parties seeking the resignation of Higher Education Minister K.T. Jaleel in the gold smuggling case rocked the State for the third straight day on Monday.

Several activists were injured as they clashed with the police at many places, including Thiruvananthapuram, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur, and Kodungalloor.

The State capital remained the epicentre of the agitation. Considering the spate of demonstrations that have roiled the city, the police had enhanced security outside the Secretariat and near Dr. Jaleel’s official residence here.

The agitations got under way with rallies taken out by the Kerala Congress (Jacob) and the Kerala Socialist Youth Federation, affiliated to the Communist Marxist Party faction led by C.P. John.

Later, activists of the Muslim Students Federation (MSF) attempted to barge into the Secretariat premises, prompting the police to use water cannon to disperse them.

Soon, activists of the BJP Mahila Morcha marched to the North Gate and attempted to climb the barricades erected in front of the Secretariat. After the police thwarted the attempts twice, the agitators laid siege to MG Road for nearly two hours. Their demonstration was bolstered after Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) workers rushed to the scene and engaged in a confrontation with the police. The ensuing clash resulted in an activist sustaining injuries.

Soon, the Kerala Students Union (KSU) also marched towards the Secretariat and managed to topple the barricades erected near the office of the Accountant General, Kerala. While the activists regrouped after being sprayed water jets, they were lathicharged by the police resulting in injuries to KSU president K.M. Abhijith and a few others.

The stir threatened to spiral out of control after Students Federation of India (SFI) activists accused KSU workers of destroying their flex boards in the area. However, the situation was brought under control after senior police officers led by City Police Commissioner Balram Kumar Upadhyay rushed to the area.