The Kerala Secretariat has become the venue for a massive protest a day after police action against the protesting family members of Jishnu Pranoy, the Nehru College student found dead in his hostel room in mysterious circumstances. A state-wide shutdown has also taken place over the incident.
In images that shocked Kerala, Jishnu’s mother and other relatives were manhandled and forcibly dragged away from the DGP’s office on Wednesday. Jishnu’s mother Mahija sustained injuries in the process, and was admitted to the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital.
Importantly, later in the day, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan justified the police action and claimed that ‘external elements’ had crept in to create a ruckus.
On Friday, starting with the Congress, a number of parties including the BJP, the SDPI and the BDJS kicked off marches to the Kerala Secretariat. Inaugurating the UDF’s protest march, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee interim President MM Hassan said that Pinarayi Vijayan is not capable of handling the Home department, and demanded that he resign from the post.
While the marches largely remained peaceful, SDPI workers attempted to break through police barricades outside the gate of the Secretariat, and were dispersed by police using water cannons.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennitha told the media that Vijayan must apologise to Jishnu’s family for the brutal police attack they faced.
ChennithalaProtests were even conducted outside Rashtrapati Bhavan. Then why can’t they protest outside the DGP’s office. The chief minister should visit Jishnu’s mother, Mahija, and apologise for what happened yesterday.
CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran has also condemned the act of police.
Kanam Rajendran, CPI state secretaryThis was an unfortunate incident that the police should have avoided. The DGP should have met Jishnu’s family and solved the issue. Now they themselves have given a tool for the Opposition to use against us in the Malappuram elections.
Meanwhile UDF MPs are protesting outside the Parliament in Delhi as well. The UDF has called for a state-wide shutdown on Thursday, while the BJP called for a hartal in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode. The hartal is almost complete across the state.
On Wednesday morning, Jishnu's mother Mahija, father Ashokan, uncle Sreejith and 11 other people had come to DGP Loknath Behera's office on Wednesday morning, to undertake a peaceful protest against the delay in the probe into the 18-year-old’s death.
However, a disagreement ensued between them and the police, when they were told that all 14 people could not go into the DGP’s office, and only six people would be allowed. Following this disagreement, the police resorted to force to remove all 14 protesters from the spot.
(The story first appeared on The News Minute and has been republished with permission.)
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