Congress warns of retaliation if police do not act against CM’s ‘criminal’ gunman

VD Satheesan demanded removal of the chief minister's 'criminal' gunman and personal security officers who allegedly beat up YC-KSU activists.

ByPTI

Published Dec 20, 2023 | 4:38 PMUpdatedDec 20, 2023 | 4:38 PM

Congress protest over assault by gunman

The Congress’s Kerala unit on Wednesday, 20 December, warned that it will take the law into its own hands if proper action is not taken by the police against those who allegedly attacked workers of its youth and student outfits for waving black flags at Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Leader of the Opposition (LoP) in the Assembly VD Satheesan threatened that its Youth Congress (YC) and Kerala Student Union (KSU) workers will now hit back if police action was not taken against those who attacked its people from Kalliaseri in Kannur district to Kollam during the Nava Kerala Sadas programme.

Another demand he made was to remove the chief minister’s “criminal” gunman and personal security officers who allegedly beat up YC-KSU activists for showing black flags to Vijayan.

Also Read: Police declare ‘Nava Kerala Sadas’ venues, routes as ‘temporary red zones’

Protest near Secretariat

His warning came while addressing the YC and Congress workers gathered outside the state Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram in protest against the alleged attacks on their people.

Hundreds of YC workers, led by their state president Rahul Mamkoottathil and accompanied by Satheesan, marched to the Secretariat carrying a banner questioning whether Vijayan was the chief minister or “chief goonda”.

The YC protestors also tore down the banners and posters related to the Nava Kerala Sadas along the route to the Secretariat.

The police were deployed in large numbers along with water cannons for crowd control.

The protestors sat down in front of the Secretariat and shouted slogans against the state government and demanding the chief minister’s resignation.

Satheesan, while addressing the gathering, questioned how police could beat up the protestors and also termed the chief minister as a “coward hiding behind the police and criminals” who has a “sadistic mindset”.

“There is a limit to everything. Till now we have been telling them (YC-KSU activists) to exercise restraint. I am here to change that stance,” he said.

Also Read: Row over KPCC chief’s support for Governor’s Senate nominees

Warns of hitting back

Satheesan said the YC and KSU workers will hit back if the police do not file cases and take action against those who allegedly attacked them from the beginning of the Nava Kerala Sadas and if the “criminal” gunman and personal security officers of the chief minister are not removed from their posts.

“If these two things are not done, hit back. We will hit back. Let there be no doubt about that. We will account for every attack on us from Kalliasseri (in Kannur district) to Kollam. We know who attacked our people. We will retaliate starting from Kalliasseri,” the LoP said.

Following the speeches by Satheesan and YC leaders, some of the protestors tried to climb over the barricades into the Secretariat and also threw sticks and stones at the police and its water cannon vehicle.

In response, the police used the water cannon several times to disperse the protestors, but the YC workers were not dissuaded and they kept throwing stones and sticks at the police and its water cannon vehicle.

The YC activists also snatched away and smashed the shields of the police personnel who stopped them from entering the Secretariat and even smashed the window of a police bus.

As the YC activists became violent, the police finally resorted to a lathi charge to disperse the protestors and also took several of them into custody.

Mamkoottathil was allegedly injured in the lathi charge.

‘No action against SFI’

He told reporters that this kind of police action was not seen against the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) activists when they protested against the Governor and demanded that his injured YC colleagues be hospitalised.

The Congress, YC and KSU workers also took out marches to police stations across the state in protest against the alleged attacks on YC-KSU activists over their black flag protests against Vijayan.

They protested outside police stations across the state and the police used force and water cannons to try and disperse the agitators.

Before joining the YC’s Secretariat march, Satheesan told TV channels that the chief minister was accompanied by three vehicles carrying goondas in addition to over 2,000 police personnel while travelling across the state for the Nava Kerala Sadas programmes.

He said while the chief minister and his Cabinet ministers were travelling across the state, YC and KSU workers protesting against them were allegedly beaten up at numerous places but no cases were filed against the perpetrators of the violence.

Also Read: CM Vijayan, Governor Khan, and minority politics in Kerala

‘Will take the law into our hands’

Satheesan warned that the party will take the law into its hands if the police do not initiate cases against those who beat up the YC-KSU protestors, including a physically handicapped youth, and try to protect the attackers.

“If they file cases and take action in accordance with law, we will be quiet. Otherwise, we will take the law into our hands. We are saying this for the first time. We have to protect our younger party members.

“So, do not make us take the law into our hands. We can also hit back at those who hit our people. Do not make us do it,” he said.

He also questioned whether the chief minister has any shame to continue in office in view of the violence by criminals.

Satheesan said that the chief minister has engaged criminals to protect himself and appeared to have lost faith in the police to do so.

The Congress on Wednesday organised protest marches to 564 police stations across the state under the aegis of the party’s mandalam committees.

It would also be holding a massive march, led by KPCC chief K Sudhakaran, to the office of the state DGP Sheikh Darvesh Sahib on 23 December as a mark of protest against the alleged attacks on YC-KSU activists over the black flags shown to Vijayan.

The Opposition party has alleged that the ruling CPI(M) workers and Vijayan’s security personnel have been brutally assaulting the activists of their youth and student outfits for waving black flags.

(Disclaimer: The headline, subheads, and intro of this report along with the photos may have been reworked by South First. The rest of the content is from a syndicated feed, and has been edited for style.)