Parassala MLA and CPI (M) leader CK Hareendran has landed himself into a controversy after a video clip of him verbally abusing a women Deputy Collector in public has gone viral on social media.
In the short video doing the rounds, Hareendran is seen loudly arguing with Trivandrum Disaster Managemen Deputy Collector SJ Vijaya, even as hundreds of people look on. Another local leader is also seen yelling at the DC alongside Hareendran. Meanwhile, a number of policemen look on in silence as this goes on.
As the argument proceeds, his body language grows more dramatic, with many pointed gestures towards the DC. At one point, he exclaims, â€śI wonder who put you in such a key position?â€ť After the tension levels reach a high pitch, eventually some people intervene to move the MLA away from the Deputy Collector.
The incident occurred on Saturday, following a road blockade organised by a procession of local residents, who were protesting the deaths of two men in the Kunnathukkal quarry mishap. The quarrel between the MLA and the Deputy Collector was over a disagreement on announcing compensation for the dead menâ€™s families.
Speaking to TNM, Hareendran said, â€śIn a meeting held by the District Collector, we had decided to give an immediate relief of Rs 1 lakh and another sum of Rs 15,000 for medical assistance to the affected families. The Deputy Collector was responsible for delivering the message to the public.â€ť
However, he said, Vijaya did not make such an announcement. â€śTo our surprise, instead of announcing the decisions taken in the meeting, she had told the crowd that the relief fund of Rs 1 lakh will be given after further discussions with the quarry owner. This agitated the crowd, they turned violent.â€ť
With the video going viral, the MLA has justified his actions, claiming that it was all in an effort to keep the woman officer safe from the agitated crowd.
â€śThe crowd turned unruly and was itching to attack the woman officer. We repeatedly requested the Deputy Collector to leave the place. She wouldnâ€™t, and in the heat of the situation it is true that I lost my temper, but it was all in an attempt to save her from the raving mob,â€ť Hareendran said.
â€śHow can a responsible official make such a grievous mistake? One cannot expect a ready to burst crowd to behave in a sophisticated manner when you tell them that their compensation will come from the killers and not the government,â€ť he added.
With the State Womenâ€™s Commission directing Hareendran to apologise to the Deputy Collector, the MLA has agreed to make an apology.
Two people had died and several others injured when a rock fell on the workers at a stone quarry at Marayamuttom in Thiruvananthapuram on November 24. Satheesh and Dinilkumar were crushed by the rock, while five others who were also working at the quarry got injured.
The police had later confirmed that the quarry had been functioning without a license. The quarry is owned by a man identified as Sukumaran who had leased the land to another man named Aloysius of Kottakkal. While Sukumaran has been arrested by the Neyyatinkara police, a search is on for Aloysius.
There have been a number of protests against quarrying in Thiruvananthapuram district. Local residents have been protesting against mining at a granite quarry at Mukkunnimala in the outskirts of the district. Nearly 300 people had recently protested, alleging that illegal quarrying has been going on in the area, and that it should be stopped.