Kerala: Clash between police and KSU workers during protest march to DGP office injures MLA Mathew Kuzhalnadan

The protest organised in the state capital aimed to condemn the alleged attacks on KSU and Youth Congress activists by members of the CPI(M).

ByPTI

Published Dec 21, 2023 | 6:00 PM Updated Dec 21, 2023 | 7:18 PM

KSU protest DGP office

A march organised by the Kerala Students’ Union (KSU) to the office of the Director General of Police (DGP) turned violent on Thursday, 21 December, leading to clashes between the police and protesting students.

KSU is the student outfit of the Opposition Congress in Kerala.

The protest organised in the state capital aimed to condemn the alleged attacks on KSU and Youth Congress activists by members of the ruling CPI(M), its youth outfit Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s gunman.

Meanwhile, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor slammed the Kerala police for manhandling his party colleague and Muvattupuzha MLA Mathew Kuzhalnadan.

Also Read: Opposition Leader trying to destroy peace in Kerala: CM Vijayan

Youth Congress march

The Youth Congress had marched to the Secretariat to protest their alleged manhandling.

Trouble erupted when a protesting KSU worker allegedly hurled chilli powder at the police, prompting the police to respond with a lathi charge.

KPCC general secretary Kuzhalnadan, who had been present since the beginning of the march, attempted to intervene and was allegedly beaten up by the police.

According to police sources,15 student activists, including three with injuries requiring hospitalisation, were arrested in connection with the incident.

Also Read: CM defends gunman accused of assaulting Youth Congress workers

Kuzhalnadan suffers injury

Kuzhalnadan criticised the police’s use of force, claiming that the violence occurred without any provocation. He said that the Congress party would continue to protest.

The police had set up barricades to prevent the students from reaching the DGP’s office, leading to a standoff. Despite water cannons being used initially to disperse the crowd, the chili powder-throwing incident escalated tensions.

In response, the police lathi charged the students, which resulted in injuries to many.

Tharoor said in a post on X that the party would move legally against the Kerala police brutality that broke the MLA’s forearm.

“I have repeatedly expressed my objections to the brutality of the police in Kerala. But I am shocked at the news that they assaulted my friend and colleague, MLA Mathew @kuzhalnadan, a prominent critic of the ruling party, and broke his forearm,” Tharoor said

“There seem to be no depths of depravity to which the Kerala Police will not sink. This requires a criminal complaint for assault & battery, which I hope @INCKeraala’s lawyers will file immediately. Meanwhile I wish Mathew a speedy recovery and more of the courage that he has already shown in abundance,” he added.

After the clash, members of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) took to the streets, alleging that a KSU activist had slapped a union member. They demanded police action and threatened to go on strike if the alleged perpetrator was not arrested.

(With PTI inputs)