Monday, October 17, 2011

Police firing fuels protests in Kerala

TRIVANDRUM — The police firing on left student activists protesting at alleged illegal admission to a student in the Government Engineering College at Calicut on Monday fuelled protests in the Kerala Assembly and across the state on Tuesday.
While the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led opposition Left Democratic Front stalled the proceedings in the Assembly, activists of the Students Federation of India (SFI) went on a rampage in several places, attacking the police and damaging public properties.

Opposition members trooped into the well of the house shouting slogans against the police and the state government after Speaker G Karthikeyan denied leave for an adjournment motion on the police action against the students. The house was later adjourned for the day.

The opposition continued their protests in the house even after the adjournment. They called off the sit-in after about an hour following the intervention of the speaker.

The adjournment motion was moved by Pradeep Kumar of the CPI (M) demanding a judicial probe into the incident in which Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Radhakrishna Pillai opened fire on protesting SFI activists at Calicut. They also demanded the immediate removal of the police officer. Opposition leader VS Achuthanandan said that the situation at Calicut did not warrant police firing. The police resorted to firing due to the United Democratic Front (UDF) government’s policy to suppress the students’ agitations.

Expressing regret over the police action, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy indicated action against the police officer concerned. However, he questioned the opposition stir against the admission of the student, saying that the student had discontinued his study following ragging by the SFI activists. The SFI attitude that the student will not be allowed to resume his study anywhere in the state was not acceptable to the government. He said several such students were given admission during the LDF rule. Owning responsibility for the admission, the chief minister said that the government would lend all help to Nirmal Madhav if he wanted to continue his study in Kerala.

Meanwhile, the state-wide protests called by the SFI to protest against the police action turned violent in several places. At Kannur, the activists threw stones at the police and stoned the camp office of the inspector-general of police and the residence of the district superintendent of police.

The SFI activists stoned the collectorate at Palghat and pelted policemen with stones in Trichur district. Several media persons were also injured in the clash between the police and the students.

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