Clashes during PFI strike pre-planned, will punish guilty: Kerala CM Vijayan:

Updated on Sep 25, 2022 06:41 AM IST

The opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party have questioned the government’s continued silence and criticised police inaction when protestors held the state to ransom. There was criticism that police remained mute spectators at several places.

Activists of Popular Front of India (PFI) block Kazhakootam - Kovalam bypass during their protest against the raid by NIA on the PFI party offices in Kerala, in Thiruvananthapuram. (PTI)
Activists of Popular Front of India (PFI) block Kazhakootam - Kovalam bypass during their protest against the raid by NIA on the PFI party offices in Kerala, in Thiruvananthapuram. (PTI)
By, Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram

A day after Kerala witnessed large-scale violence during a strike called by the Popular Front of India (PFI), chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Saturday that it was a premeditated unrest, and the perpetrators will not go scot-free.

The opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party have questioned the government’s continued silence and criticised police inaction when protestors held the state to ransom. There was criticism that police remained mute spectators at several places.

Talking to newsmen in the state capital, Vijayan said the majority of the troublemakers came after covering their faces and destroyed public property randomly. “In the recent past, the state never witnessed such a scale of violence. We will not spare perpetrators. Besides those directly involved, we will also go after people who incited such trouble,” he said, adding that in many cases the accused have been identified.

Also Read| Barelvi Muslims call for ban on PFI, support govt action against radical outfit

The state had seen unprecedented violence on Friday. As many as 70 government buses were damaged, bombs were hurled at several places, shops and business establishments were forcibly closed and many were hurt in stone pelting. Police said 1013 PFI activists have been arrested so far, out of these 819 were preventive arrests. A total of 290 cases registered,said police.

BJP leader and former union minister Prakash Javadekar said the Left Front government was equally responsible for the violence. Talking to newsmen in the state capital, he said raids were conducted in 15 states, but only Kerala witnessed such violence as the government turned a silent spectator.

“It was a dark day for the state. Hooligans were on rampage and they took the state to ransom and government machinery was nowhere to be seen,” Javadekar said. “How can the government turn a blind eye to such lawlessness?” The state government was scared to take action, fearing a dent over its vote bank, he alleged.

The ruling CPI(M) and PFI colluded in the violence, Javadekar said. “If the government would have taken strong action, such incidents should have been averted,” he said. “PFI activists also bombed the RSS office in Kannur. Such acts will never occur without tacit support of the ruling dispensation.”

Also Read| Pro-Pakistan slogans allegedly raised during PFI stir in Pune; probe on

State opposition leader V D Satheesan of the Congress also criticised the silence of the chief minister. “The government was missing in action as the state was witnessing widespread violence. The CM’s silence is really intriguing ,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Kerala high court has asked the state government on its plans to recover the huge losses suffered during the shutdown and asked it to submit a detailed report by October 17. Action should be strict and without any delay, the court said.

The court had registered a contempt case against the PFI and its office bearers on Friday for flouting its earlier directive banning flash shutdowns. Masked men went on a rampage in different parts of the state, stoning government buses, attacking policemen, and vandalising shops.

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