SFI march turns violent in Kerala; Rahul Gandhi's office vandalisedtext_fields
Wayanad: A march by Students Federation of India (SFI), the students' wing of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) against Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi's office here on Friday turned violent after some of the marchers allegedly entered Rahul's office and vandalised it. The incident, which happened at Wayanad district's Kalpetta, prompted Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to condemn, as his own party's student wing unleashed the alleged destruction, and he promised strict action against the perpetrators, PTI reported.
The SFI (Students' Federation of India) march was against Rahul Gandhi's inaction on the issue of buffer zones around forests.
Congress alleged that the vandalisation happened with the knowledge of CM Vijayan. They also alleged that the SFI protest march was without prior announcement.
Meanwhile, police told PTI that eight people were taken into custody from the spot, where some police personnel also got injured in stone-pelting. Following the incidents of fury, Congress workers, including the Youth Congress and students' wing KSU, staged protest marches across the state.
Congress further alleged that three staff who were present at the MP's office were attacked by the SFI activists. TV channels covered people entering the office and creating a stir.
Senior Congress leader KC Venugopal, alleging that the assault was with the knowledge of CM, said that police stood as silent witness to the attack and aided "SFI criminals". "Instead of fighting the BJP government at the Centre, the CPI(M) was attacking the Congress on the buffer zone issue. The Chief Minister is answerable for this violence planned by SFI criminals. The party strongly condemns the attack," he told media at Thiruvananthapuram.
On the incident, Pinarayi Vijayan responded, "Strongly condemn the attack against Congress MP Rahul Gandhi's office at Wayanad. This land ensures space for freedom of expression and democratic protest, but it is a wrong tendency to turn such protests into violent ones. The government will take stern action against the culprits."
After CM Vijayan condemned the incident and promised action, KPCC president K Sudhakaran welcomed CM's assurance but expressed doubt about his sincerity. He alleged that CPI(M) leadership was aware of the attack and demanded action against police personnel who aided the attackers.
Leader of Opposition in Kerala, VD Satheeshan, condemned the incident through Twitter saying, "Ghastly attack by SFI 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".
Though the SFI protest was against Rahul Gandhi's inaction, the Wayanad MP had posted his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting the PM to address the concerns of the local communities likely to be impacted by the Supreme Court judgement on buffer zones.
PTI reports that a recent Supreme Court order mandates the maintenance of an eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of one kilometre around national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, which has led to widespread protest in various parts of Kerala.
The high range areas of Kerala, particularly areas in Idukki, Wayanad, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta districts, had been witnessing hartals by various political and farmers' groups against the apex court order delivered on June 3.
Issuing a slew of directions, a bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao had ordered that no permanent structure will be allowed within such ESZs and said if the local law or other rules provide for an ESZ of more than one km, then the earlier provision would continue to apply.
The SC order came on a batch of applications filed on a PIL pending from 1995, and they raised two sets of issues, with the first one related to mining activities in and around Jamua Ramgarh, a wildlife sanctuary in Rajasthan.
The second set of issues was related to prescribing ESZs surrounding the wildlife sanctuaries and national parks.