A protest march of the Congress party to the Kerala Director General of Police’s (DGP) office in Thiruvananthapuram turned violent on Saturday December 23, with the police resorting to use water cannons and stun grenades to disperse protestors. The demonstration by Congress workers was to demand the arrest of the gunman of CM Pinarayi Vijayan and CPI(M) workers, who have been accused of assaulting Youth Congress workers across the state on the backdrop of the Nava Kerala Sadas.
Leader of Opposition VD Satheesan and Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee President K Sudhakaran led the march to the DGP office on Saturday.
Police used grenades and water cannons to disperse the protesters right after the speech of the KPCC president. Meanwhile, VD Satheesan was not able to finish his speech as the police action interrupted it.
Some of the Congress workers, including KPCC chief Sudhakaran suffered breathing issues as a result of the tear gas shelling and had to be taken to the hospital.
Prior to the protest march, Sudharakaran told the media that the demonstration would be peaceful and that Congress was not for any aggression.
Meanwhile, Congress workers allege that the police action was unusual as the event was attended by senior leaders of the party. They claim that the police action against the protestors was ‘unprovoked’.
The capital city has been witnessing widespread violence over the last few days with the Youth Congress workers and Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) members clashing in various parts of the district on the days of Nava Kerala Sadas.
On Saturday, December 22, the third day of the Nava Kerala Sadas in Thiruvananthapuram, the Youth Congress and DYFI clashed in Kattakada in the morning. Around 25 Youth Congress members were there in the protest including 4 women members. They waved the black flag as a protest towards the main vehicle where Kerala CM travels. According to Daniel Pappanam, the Youth Congress Kattakkada Niyojakamandalam President, four Youth Congress workers were injured and admitted to different hospitals.
A similar incident happened three days back on December 20, The Youth Congress conducted a secretariat march and it turned into violence. The protest was against the government’s alleged attempts to stifle dissent by attacking workers of the Youth Congress and KSU. One of the banners carried during the march read, “Chief minister or Chief gangster?” (‘Mukhyan mukhya gundayo mukhya manthriyo?’).