Many protesters suffered serious injuries after the police used grenades and lathi charge to disperse them.

Scores of protesters - men and women - seen holding up Youth Congress flag and fists in the air raising slogans against Minister KT Jaleel Many are seen wearing masks All images by Korah Abraham
news Kerala Gold Smuggling Tuesday, September 15, 2020 - 17:02

Protests demanding the resignation of Kerala Minister KT Jaleel began on Friday after he was summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for the first time in connection with his links with the UAE Consulate and gold scam accused Swapna Suresh. Four days on, the protests against him intensified on Tuesday when hundreds of workers of Congress Youth, Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and Yuva Morcha raised slogans outside the Kerala Secretariat. Meanwhile, the law enforcement agency said the probe against Jaleel is not over yet. 

The ED summoned Jaleel on Friday to investigate if he violated the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, by accepting food kits and copies of Quran from the UAE Consulate. He was coordinating with the Swapna Suresh and the UAE Consulate General in Thiruvananthapuram for these transactions. The ED has reportedly registered an enforcement case information report (ECIR) against the Minister and others in the gold smuggling case, which is a matter of routine.

On Tuesday, the protests turned violent and many party workers were seriously injured. A huge posse of police was deployed in front of the Secretariat. The protesters kept pushing up against the barricades and tried to enter the Secretariat. The police used grenades, tear gas shells, water cannons and lathi-charge to disperse the protesters. It after this that the protesters stopped the stir, which lasted for more than three hours.

According to visuals from the protest site, Legislative Assembly Members, KS Sabarinathan and Shafi Parambil, were also beaten by the police.

MLAs Shafi Parambil and KS Sabarinathan with other protesters

While the protesters said they will continue to fight until the resignation of the minister, the state's CPI(M) leaders have informed that KT Jaleel will not resign. On Monday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also said that that the resignation was unnecessary.

Meanwhile, ED Director SK Misra told TNM that the investigation in the case is still on and that Jaleel may be summoned again on the issue. 

Jaleel was questioned over his links with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Consulate and the gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh.

Earlier, on Friday, Jaleel first denied reports of him being questioned by the ED. He went to the ED office in a private vehicle to avoid media attention. Later, after he confirmed, the opposition parties and its youth wings started protesting against him, seeking his resignation.

Read: Gold smuggling case: ED questions Kerala Minister KT Jaleel

Meanwhile, Jaleel continues to maintain that he has no connection in the gold smuggling case and that he brought the Holy Quran copies from UAE to distribute in Kerala.

Watch: The protest in front of the Secretariat on Tuesday

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