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BJP, CPI-M cadres in Kerala should lay down arms: Chennithala

BJP, CPI-M cadres in Kerala should lay down arms: Chennithala

Thiruvananthapuram: A day after the BJP sought a probe by the CBI or a high court judge into violence against its cadres in Kerala, the Congress on Monday said peace in the state could be ensured if supporters of both the BJP and CPI-M "laid down their arms".

Addressing reporters here, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said political violence and killings in Kerala have increased ever since the Left Front government led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist assumed office after the May assembly elections.

"During earlier Congress rule (2011-16), there was peace in Kannur, but with the change in state government, maximum violence has been reported from villages of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the CPI-M state secretary, both in Kannur district," Chennithala claimed.

Chennithala was the Home Minister in the ealier Oommen Chandy government.

"Political violence in Kannur has increased due to clashes between BJP/RSS and CPI-M activists and police is a mere spectator. Police raids have stopped and a 'bomb culture' prevails there as a result," the Congress leader said.

He said a day-long peace meeting will be held at Kannur on Thursday.

The Bharatiya Janata party on Sunday alleged some 400 cases of assault on its activists in Kerala since the Left Front came to power.

"Ever since the Pinarayi Vijayan government assumed office four months ago, 400 cases of assault against our cadres by CPI-M supporters have taken place," BJP General Secretary Bhupendra Yadav said.

Chennithala also said that there was no decision yet on coordination with the Kerala Congress-Mani in the assembly, whose session begins on Monday.

The Kerala Congress-Mani has parted ways with the opposition United Democratic Front and its members will sit as a separate block in the asssembly. The strength of the Congress-led UDF has since come down from 47 to 41 in the 140-member assembly with Kerala Congress-Mani's exit.

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