The Opposition Congress in Kerala on Monday alleged that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who does not allow people to wear black masks or use black flags even for funerals, has now become a laughing stock among people of the state.
Leader of Opposition in the Assembly VD Satheesan said the chief minister has become a “coward” who hides behind policemen. The Congress-led UDF has been organising widespread protest against the Left government in Kerala over the budget decision to impose Rs 2 cess on fuel prices in the state.
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Satheesan was referring to reports of an alleged ban on black attire and masks at a recent Kozhikode event of the CM on Sunday (February 19). “By not allowing people to wear black masks or use black flags even for funerals, Chief Minister Vijayan has now become a laughing stock in the state. He has turned into a coward who would run into a thousand policemen even if children were waving black flags along the road,” Satheesan told reporters in Kozhikode. He said the protesting Congress workers were termed as “suicide squads” by the CPI (M) party state secretary MV Govindan.
“When we announced a protest against tax imposition, the chief minister said the UDF only knows how to conduct Satyagraha. But now, the chief minister is hiding behind the police. CPI (M) has admitted that the Opposition’s struggle has grown from satyagraha to suicide squad. Apart from being called urban Naxalites and terrorists, the protesters are now being called suicide squads,” Satheesan said. He said his party will intensify the protest.
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The Congress in Kerala had on Sunday threatened legal action against the “illegal preventive detention” of some of its party leaders and workers during Vijayan’s visit to Kozhikode for an event. Some Congress workers were taken into custody by the police while they were standing on a road close to the route to be taken by the chief minister and visuals were aired on TV channels showing them questioning their detention.
The Congress had on Sunday questioned why the CPI (M) and the Kerala chief minister were against protests when they have a proud tradition of holding agitations. Govindan had earlier referred to the black flag protestors as “suicide squads” of the Congress who were bent on throwing themselves in front of the chief minister’s cavalcade.
(With Agency inputs)