Published: 19th February 2021
Kerala PSC job aspirants' protests: 16 KSU activists, 5 cops injured in clashes
When the march turned violent, Youth Congress leaders who were on a hunger strike at the adjoining protest venue rushed to the spot
After a brief lull, the busy MG Road in front of the Secretariat resembled a bloody war zone following clashes between Kerala Students Union (KSU) members and the police on Thursday. Sixteen KSU workers and five policemen were injured in the pitched battle as the cops blocked a march led by union president K M Abhijith in solidarity with the protesting PSC job aspirants. The PSC job aspirants’ protests had not seen violence till now.
The clashes started immediately after KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran left the protest venue after inaugurating the protest march. The KSU activists tried to enter the Secretariat. This led the police to resort to fire water cannons to disperse them. The KSU activists threw stones at them in retaliation and the police started caning the students left, right and centre.
Those injured include Abhijith, NSUI secretary Eric Stephen, NSUI national coordinator and KSU state general secretary Nabeel Kallambalam, KSU vice-president Sneha S Nair, Thiruvananthapuram district secretary Sajna B Sajan, Thiruvananthapuram district president Syedali Kaipadi and state secretary Bahul Krishna. Several woman KSU activists also sustained injuries as the police cornered them and beat them up.
The injured were initially taken to the Medical College Hospital and later shifted to a private hospital at Chackai. When the march turned violent, Youth Congress leaders who were on a hunger strike at the adjoining protest venue rushed to the spot. Encouraged by their presence, KSU activists staged a sit-in protest in front of the Secretariat for hours. Abhijith told reporters that the students will not allow the LDF government to end their protest by unleashing violence.
“The policemen who attacked us brutally had not worn their nameplates from which it was clear that they were keen to suppress our protest somehow and ensure that there was bloodshed. We have decided to hold statewide protests against the police brutality on Friday,” said Abhijith. Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala during a reception given to his Aishwarya Kerala Yatra in Kollam condemned the police atrocity against the KSU activists.
Mullappally visited the injured KSU activists at the hospital in the evening. Former chief minister Oommen Chandy warned the LDF government that its ploy to suppress the youth organisation’s protest will not be tolerated.