Two Kerala government employees were arrested in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday for vandalizing the cabin of a State Bank of India (SBI) manager on the second day of a 48-hour nationwide trade union strike. Ashokan and Harilal appeared before a court which remanded them in judicial custody till January 24.
On Wednesday, a group of 15 people stormed into the cabin of the SBI manager and vandalized it for remaining open during the planned strike. The protestors reportedly walked into the first floor of the branch, smashing glass tables, computers, chairs and televisions, and manhandling the bank manager when he refused to shut down the branch.
Santosh Karunakaran, the manager whose cabin was attacked, told the media on Thursday that the police had started their probe. He mentioned that a computer, two phones and a glass table top were among the items damaged by the protesters.
The SBI branch is located near Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's office. The bank filed a complaint with Cantonment police. Cantonment police had on Wednesday told TNM that they planned to use the CCTV footage to identify all those involved in the case.
The police are on the lookout for 13 more people, including those attached to Left unions.
The nationwide trade union strike was called by the National Convention of Workers in September. The strike was called to protest against the anti-worker and anti-trade union policies of the Narendra Modi government. The strike also saw disruptions in transport services in the state, as trains were stopped by protesters who took to sitting on the railway tracks.
The incident at the SBI bank branch comes close on the heels of the Kerala government deciding to promulgate the Kerala Prevention of Damage to Private Property and Payment of Compensation Ordinance, 2019, to prevent damage to private property during strike-related violence.