The protest was triggered by an incident following the clash between CPI(M)’s SFI and CPI’s AISF recently in Kochi during the college union election campaign.

Police resort to lathicharge as protest march by CPI in Kochi turns violent
news Protest Wednesday, July 24, 2019 - 07:40

A day after the clash between Youth Congress workers and the police in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, too, witnessed similar scenes on Tuesday. Leaders and members of the Communist Party of India (CPI), who are part of Left Democratic Front-led ruling government, were taking out a protest march towards the Inspector General of Police’s office in Kochi. Police resorted to water cannons as the protest march eventually turned violent. 

The protest was triggered by an incident following the clash between SFI and CPI’s students’ wing AISF (All India Students' Federation) last Wednesday at the Government Arts and Science College in Vypin, Kochi, during the college union election campaign. According to members of the CPI, the party Ernakulam district secretary P Raju was blocked by members of the SFI and Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) while he was coming out from the hospital after meeting SFI members who were injured in the clash.

Circle Inspector of Njarackal police station, who was present at the spot, reportedly did not prevent SFI and DYFI members while they blocked Raju. The march on Tuesday was carried out to demand action against the Circle Inspector.

Several party members as well as police officials, including an Ernakulam Assistant Commissioner of Police K Lalji, were injured in the clash on Tuesday. 

Muvattupuzha MLA Eldo Abraham of CPI, who was injured in the protest march, strongly criticised the police. “There was no provocation from the part of the party workers and yet the police used force. First, they used water cannons at us followed by lathi-charge,” Eldo Abraham told Asianet News.

Meanwhile, CPI State Secretary Kanam Rajendran told the media in Thiruvananthapuram that the protest march was only against the police and that he will check what really happened in the march.

This incident comes a day after Kerala’s capital city has been witnessing recurrent protests by the Congress and the BJP over Students’ Federation of India (SFI) members stabbing a student at University College Thiruvananthapuram. 

Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has asked District Collector S Suhas, who is also the District Magistrate, to conduct a probe into the incident and submit a report on it.

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