Police baton-charge, use water canons on protesters near Kerala secretariat

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Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 9 (PTI) Police resorted to baton charge and used water canons against scores of protesters in front of the Kerala secretariat on Tuesday night as weeks-long agitation intensified against alleged backdoor appointment in various government departments.

Demanding an extension of six more months the validity of the Last Grade PSC rank list published in 2017, several youngsters sat in front of the state secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram earlier in the day and raised slogans against alleged backdoor appointments, even as a youth tried to jump off from a nearby building.

Late on Tuesday night, the Youth Congress also protested in front of the secretariat, resulting in police resorting to caning and use of water cannons.

A group of Last Grade PSC rank holders has been protesting in front of the secretariat since January 26.

'The validity of our rank list published in 2017 is only up to June 2021. Our demand is to extend the validity to six more months,' a rank holder told the media.

In Kannur, protesters, including women, held 'shayanapradakshanam' (rolled on the floor), while they knelt down and held prayers in front of the PSC office in Kochi.

Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac said the protests were instigated by the Congress party. 'The Opposition have been misleading the youngsters that everyone who comes in the rank list will get a job,' Isaac said.

Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala said the Opposition would intensify the protests in the matter.

'The state is witnessing the anger of the youngsters,' Chennithala said.

Congress state president Mullappally Ramachandran said the government was 'insensitive' towards the protests of youngsters.

The Congress-led United Democratic Front has also been protesting across the state alleging 'backdoor appointments' into various departments of the state government.

The Left government has, however, decided to counter the backdoor appointment allegation of the opposition and has been releasing the list of various appointments made by the previous UDF government before the end of its term.

Earlier this week, two men, along with other PSC rank holders of Last Grade Servant 2020 post, attempted to commit suicide but was immediately thwarted by the police. PTI RRT HMB