Rahul Gandhi’s MP office in Wayanad vandalised by Left student activists
Angry Congress workers clashed with the police and Left activists after the attack on Rahul Gandhi’s MP office in Wayanad while the ruling CPI(M) disowned the violent incident
The activists of the Student Federation of India (SFI), youth wing of the ruling Communist Party of India, or CPI(M), vandalised the office of Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi in the district headquarter Kalpetta on Friday alleging inaction on his part on the recent Supreme Court notification mandating one-km eco-sensitive area around all wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and protected areas.
Angry Congress workers clashed with the police and Left activists after the attack on Rahul Gandhi’s office. Many policemen and Congress and SFI activists were injured in the violence. Among the injured, the condition of two persons is reported to be serious.
Police said the attack on the MP’s office was quite unexpected and only a handful of policemen were present when the SFI activists took out a procession. The protestors barged into the office in a three-storey building and vandalised it after attacking the office staff, they said. The MP office secretary Augustine Pulpally was injured seriously in the attack. Many women activists were also present in the attack.
Though the Congress alleged the role of the ruling party in the attack, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan condemned the attack and promised strict action against the perpetrators. Later Rahul Gandhi tweeted and posted two letters written by him to the Prime Minister and the chief minister respectively, indicating that he acted swiftly on the buffer zone issue. Many see the latest attack as a retaliatory action against the recent in-flight protest against the chief minister by three Youth Congress activists. But the ruling party disowned the violent incident quickly gauging national repercussions.
“It seems it is a well-planned and executed attack. The CPI(M) is trying to please Narendra Modi. All democratic forces should condemn the dastardly attack. The CM owes a personal explanation,” said AICC general secretary K C Venugopal in the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram. Congress state chief K Sudhakaran and Opposition leader V D Satheesan also condemned the attack on the MP’s office.
“Strongly condemn the attack on @RG’s Wayanad office. In our country everyone has the right to air their opinion and protest democratically. However that should not result in excess. It is a wrong tendency. Strict action will be taken against the culprits,” tweeted the chief minister.
The Left Democratic Front (LDF) convener, E P Jayarajan, said the party never believed in violent protests and said it will look into the “unfortunate incident.”
Many areas of Idukki and Wayanad districts were witnessing protests over the recent Supreme Court order mandating one-km eco-sensitive area around all wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and protected areas. Both districts witnessed two shutdowns in the last few weeks. According to the Kerala Independent Farmers’ Association, 2.5 lakh acres will turn buffer zone and 30,000 families will be displaced if the notification was implemented.
Protests broke out in many parts of the state after the attack on Rahul Gandhi’s office. In the state capital, police blocked a rally of the Congress to the CPI(M) headquarters, AKG Centre. They blocked many roads seeking action against the attackers. K Sudhakaran said the incident took place before the police and sought action against senior officers, who, he said, “colluded with protestors.”
The CPI(M) secretariat issued a statement saying the protest was not in the itinerary and the party will look into the incident and take action against the persons responsible. Party general secretary Sitaram Yechury also condemned the attack. “Strongly denounce and condemn what happened in Wayanad Kerala today. Kerala state CM has already condemned it. Police has initiated measures against those responsible,” he tweeted.