Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday, 21 November, claimed that Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) workers had actually saved the lives of the Youth Congress activists, who allegedly tried to jump in front of his cavalcade and waved black flags, and did not assault them as has been reported.
Vijayan said that he was sitting in the front seat of the bus on which he and his Cabinet colleagues were travelling as part of the state government’s outreach programme Nava Kerala Sadas, and saw the Youth Congress activists trying to jump in front of the vehicle.
“It happened right in front of my eyes. The DYFI workers were trying to prevent them from jumping in front of the oncoming vehicle,” the Chief Minister insisted.
‘They were saving lives’
“They were saving the lives of the Youth Congress activists for which some force had to be necessarily used. It was not an assault. It was an admirable act on the part of the DYFI workers and my request to them is to continue the same,” the chief minister told reporters during a press briefing.
Vijayan was responding to queries from reporters regarding the Congress allegation that members of its youth wing were brutally assaulted with helmets, sticks and stones by workers of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI).
The DYFI is the youth wing of the ruling CPI(M) in Kerala.
Vijayan alleged that the actions of the Youth Congress activists indicated the frustration of their parent body over the success of the outreach programme which was witnessing a huge turnout.
He further alleged that the intention behind such acts was to create an environment of conflict in order to dissuade the public from participating in the programme and that there was nothing democratic about the demonstration by the Youth Congress.
‘An act of aggression’
“It is not a protest. It is an act of aggression,” the chief minister contended and urged the LDF supporters and workers not to be provoked by the same and to exercise restraint.
The chief minister said that he would suggest that such demonstrations be stopped or withdrawn.
“However, if they intend to fight in the streets and show the black flag all the way to Thiruvananthapuram, then we will see how Kerala will receive it. We are not intimidated by the same. This programme will not be hampered by such actions,” Vijayan said.
Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly VD Satheesan had, on Monday, said that black flags would be shown to the chief minister all the way to Thiruvananthapuram if Youth Congress workers were physically targeted.
The police said that they have launched an investigation into the entire incident.
The injured Youth Congress workers have been admitted to a private hospital in Taliparamba, they said.
Congress condemns incident
The Youth Congress also alleged that a few of their workers were taken into preventive custody by the police earlier in the day.
Condemning the incident, Satheesan said this reflects poorly on the state of affairs in Kerala, as it appears that a group of people linked to the CPI(M) engaged in a physical attack against workers of the Youth Congress and the Kerala Students’ Union (KSU), including women activists.
It’s a humiliating incident for Kerala, Satheesan said in a statement.
The Chief Minister also lashed out at the criticism from the opposition Congress that the Nava Kerala Sadas was a stage for political drama, saying that it was an insult to the thousands who participated in the programme.
He said that 9,807 complaints were received from the four assembly constituencies here that were visited yesterday.
“Cutting across political lines, people are attending the event. Even UDF leaders are taking part in it. The UDF leadership, which got disturbed by the huge success of the event, is making Youth Congress workers create issues,” the CPI(M) said.
The Sadas will continue to be in Kannur on Wednesday also, he said.
The Chief Minister also said that there would be a Cabinet meeting at Thalassery on Wednesday.
(With PTI inputs)