Thiruvananthapuram,Sep 12 (PTI) Widespread protests,which turned violent at many places, rocked Kerala on Saturday as the Opposition Congress and BJP workers went on the warpath, demanding the resignation of Higher Education Minister K T Jaleel a day after he appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with an alleged FCRA violation.
Despite heavy downpour, the Youth Congress, Yuva Morcha, BJP, Congress and the Youth League staged protests at various places, includingKozhikode, Thrissur, Malappuram, Idukki and Kottayam,demanding Jaleel's resignation.
BJP is also observing a 'black day' today to protest the police action against its activists last night during demonstrations.
At many places today, police used lathis and water cannons to disperse the violent protesters, who also burnt effigies of the minister.
Inthe state capital, protesters tried to barge into the secretariat, following which police lathicharged them, causing injuries to a few workers.
The protesters also marched to Jaleel's house at Malappuram, but were stopped by police some distance away.
Jaleel had appeared before the Enforcement Directorate on Friday in connection with alleged FCRA violation in accepting consignments of the Holy Quran brought from UAE through diplomatic channel and his statement was recorded.
On Jaleel's questioning by ED, Tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran told reporters here that an explanation was sought from him and there was no need for him to resign due to that.
The protests by the opposition were unnecessary, he said.
'What's the point of all these protests? They (ED) called him to seek some explanation and what's the big deal? What is the need for him to resign if an agency had sought an explanation? Do you all remember a former Chief Minister being questioned for hours? Which minister was left out from the last ministry from questioning?,' Surendran asked.
He was referring to the questioning of former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy by a judicial commission in the controversial solar scam case.
BJP statePresident K Surendran alleged that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was 'protecting' Jaleel.
He should clearly state what information had been sought from him by the ED and the documents he had produced, Surendran told reporters here.
Jaleel had earlier admitted that the consignment containing the Holy Quran had been received from the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, which a top Customs official had referred to as 'prima facie violation of FCRA' (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act).
The minister had on Friday posted on Facebook: 'Truth will prevail. Only the truth. Even if the whole world opposes it, nothing else will happen.' He did not elaborate.
Officials had earlier said Jaleel was under the scanner of the central agencies after he publicly claimed that the consignments brought to Thiruvananthapuram during Ramzan month contained the Holy Quran for distribution in his constituency.
The minister's name had also figured in the call list of Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the case related to gold smuggling through diplomatic baggage addressed to the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram.
However, Jaleel had said the calls were 'strictly professional'. PTI RRT UDAPR RAVINDRANATH RAVINDRANATH