Thiruvananthapuram: Friday witnessed strong protests across the state led by the UDF against the stance of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who has said that all those travelling from abroad to Kerala will have to carry a Covid negative certificate starting from Saturday. However, this date was later postponed to June 25.
Ending his day long protest in front of the Secretariat, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said Vijayan says one thing and does exactly the opposite.
"He all along was shedding crocodile tears for the diaspora and now all have realised that he was cheating them. The very fact that the decision to carry a Covid negative certificate from tomorrow has been postponed to 25th, clearly shows that he has realised that it was a folly. We will not accept this change, our demand is when none in the country wants such a certificate, Vijayan is doing this because he does not want our diaspora to come to their home state. We will continue our protest till Vijayan changes his impractical decision," said Chennithala.
Earlier in the day, starting the protest, State Congress president Mullapally Ramachandran came down heavily on Kerala Health Minister K.K. Shailaja for doing nothing and bringing hardship to the diaspora.
"She first by just playing a 'guest role' when Nipah struck Kozhikode earned the title 'Nipah princess' and now she is trying to earn the title of 'Covid Queen', when our diaspora is waiting to return to their home town. This Left government has cheated the diaspora when they badly needed the support of the state government," said Ramachandran.
The BJP has also been demanding the withdrawal of this certificate as it is causing hardship to the Kerala diaspora especially those returning from various Middle East countries, most of which do not have the facilities to issue this kind of a certificate.
Members of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party, marched to the official residence of Vijayan here where they had a tiff with the police.
"When the Centre is doing its best to operate the Vande Bharat Mission flights to bring back our people, here, Vijayan is trying to spoil it. All want to know what has he done for the diaspora, even as crores of rupees have been spent in the name of diaspora," said Morcha leader P.Sudhir.
Over 80,000 diaspora have by now returned and over two lakh more are wanting to return.