Rahul Gandhi's Kerala office attacked. 'Ghastly, pre-planned,' says Cong
The attack - allegedly carried out by Students' Federation of India members - was disowned by the CPIM and chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan promised strict action against the guilty.
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi's local office in Kerala's Wayanad was stormed Friday in what party general secretary KC Venugopal called a 'pre-planned... unprovoked and ghastly attack'. The incident led to tension in Kalpetta, where the office is located, with Congress workers launching a protest of their own.
Visuals shared by VD Satheesan, the Leader of the Opposition in Kerala, showed a large mob of young men arguing with and shouting at each other inside a small glass-walled room. Suddenly a scuffle breaks out and a man in a red shirt can be seen thrashing another. "There were around 80-100 activists. As of now, eight are under custody. More police have been deployed," officials told PTI.
The student organisation protested alleging Rahul Gandhi had failed to intervene in the issue of creating buffer zones around forests in hilly areas.
"Ghastly attack by SFI (Students' Federation of India) goons at Rahul Gandhi's MP office at Wayanad. It is lawlessness and goondaism. CPM has turned into an organised mafia. Strongly Condemning the attack," Satheesan said in his post.
Speaking to reporters later, he called the incident a 'state-sponsored attack'.
"This is a pre-planned attack. It took place under the nose of police. Chief minister should react to this unprovoked and ghastly attack," Venugopal said.
"CM sent his goons to divert attention from the sorry state in which he (has) landed and (is trying to) please prime minister Narendra Modi," he said.
He also claimed a 'conspiracy' linked to the Enforcement Directorate's questioning of Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case.
Congress' district chief, ND Appachan said the attack had been unexpected and that staff members present in the office were manhandled.
The CPIM has disowned and condemned the attack.
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has condemned the attack and promised strict action, and party leader CK Saeendran said the incident will be investigated.
Today's attack is being seen as retaliation for the in-flight protest against the CM 10 days ago, when two Youth Congress workers boarded a plane in which he was travelling and showed him black flags.
EP Jayarajan, the convener of the ruling Left Democratic Front, called it a 'terror activity'. "It was a plan to attack the CM physically. We averted the incident at the nick of time."
The Congress called it 'a symbolic protest'. "When cops thrashed protestors, CM challenged them. It was symbolic protest against state-sponsored repression," Satheesan said.
On Thursday the high court granted the two Youth Congress workers bail.
With input from ANI, PTI