In a major embarrassment to the Madhya Pradesh government, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan had to return without attending a function in Bhopal after Bajrang Dal activists staged a protest against him on Saturday.
The Bajrang Dal activists raised slogans such as ‘Killers of RSS workers, go back’ and ‘People of this country will never forgive you for murdering of RSS workers’ during the protest. Police said chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan tried to alleviate the situation by asking Vijayan over the phone to return only after attending the event, but to no avail.
Vijayan, on his maiden visit to Bhopal, was supposed to attend a felicitation event organised for him at the Bhopal School of Social Sciences (BSSS) auditorium around 5.30 pm. A reception was planned for him by the United Malayalee Association, Bhopal Malayalee Association and South Bhopal Kerala Samajam.
However, while Vijayan was heading to the venue, Bajrang Dal activists agitated in front of the BSSS college gate. When informed about the protest, the Kerala chief minister returned to his hotel and told the organisers that he won’t be able to attend the event.
‘If Kerala CM comes here again, we’ll ensure he returns from airport itself’
Bajrang Dal district convener Sonu Dubey said they staged the protest because the Kerala chief minister had failed to prevent RSS workers from being systematically killed in his state. “We won’t allow such people to enter Bhopal. If the Kerala CM comes here again, we will ensure that he returns from the airport premises itself,” he added.
Protesters appeared at the venue virtually out of the blue: DIG
When asked if this amounts to a security lapse, deputy inspector general of police (Bhopal) Raman Singh Sikarwar said the occurrence was rather unexpected.
“The protesters appeared at the venue virtually out of the blue. We called in additional security personnel to prevent any untoward incident, and also asked the driver of the Kerala CM’s car to delay his arrival. But we were later informed that he decided to not attend the function, citing a delay in schedule,” Sikarwar elaborated.
Sikarwar said the Bhopal collector also reached the spot after the matter was brought to his notice. “The collector and I asked the Kerala CM to attend the function, but he had already made up his mind to return. Even CM Chouhan made a similar request.” Nineteen people have been arrested in connection with the protest, and a case has been registered at the Bagh Sewania police station.