Kerala rocked by protests once again by Swapna Suresh’s allegations

CPI-M and LDF leaders are blaming Congress for the chaos saying they are instigating riots in the disguise of protests. There is also widespread criticism that Malayalam television channels are fanning the situation

Water cannons and tear gas shells have been used in several places in the state and the police even resorted to lathi-charge to dispel protestors demanding the resignation of Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan after Swapna Suresh's recent allegations. Pic: PTI

Even as the entire country debates over the emergence of ‘bulldozer politics’, Kerala has been rocked by protests once again provoked by the allegations made by Swapna Suresh, the prime accused in the gold smuggling case.

The subsequent mayhem unleashed by the Congress party, which is demanding the resignation of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, has literally shaken up the state.

The street protests staged by the United Democratic Front (UDF) organisations across the state has compelled the government to enhance CM’s security. What riled the Left Democratic Front (LDF) members is that the Youth Congress workers chanted slogans against the CM inside an aircraft, while he was returning to Thiruvananthapuram from Kannur.

As the protest demanding CM’s resignation turned violent in Kerala, Congress activists have been arrested in various districts for waving black flags at CM’s cavalcade. Water cannons and tear gas shells have been used in several places in the state and the police even resorted to lathi-charge to dispel protestors. Mahila Morcha, the BJP’s women’s wing also organised protests in Thiruvananthapuram and Thrissur. These activists went to the extent of pouring cow dung water on the secretariat gate at Thiruvananthapuram.

Police action against people wearing ‘black masks’ too created widespread resentment in the state. During the CM’s programme at Malappuram on June 12, the cops distributed yellow coloured masks to prevent people from wearing black masks. This was discontinued immediately after the channels started airing it live. However, the CM issued a statement denying allegations on any ban on black clothing or masks.

Also read: Congress workers gherao Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan inside aircraft

“There is absolutely no ban on any colour or any dress. Kerala is a state which has an affluent history of struggles for the right to wear the dress of one’s choice. The government has not imposed a ban on any democratic form of protests,” the CM said in his speech, while inaugurating a programme of the state library council.

CPI-M and LDF leaders are blaming the Congress for the chaos saying they are instigating riots in the disguise of protests. “A section of the media is blaming the government for enhancing the security of the chief minister. The Congress workers dare attack the CM even inside the aircraft. This is nothing less than terrorism,” said E P Jayarajan, the LDF convenor, who had accompanied the CM in the flight.

“The Congress is trying to manhandle the CM in disguise of protests. What the Congress is doing in Kerala is instigating riots and they have been engaged in disruptive activities. The people of Kerala will not tolerate this,” said K K Shailaja, the former minister and the Central Committee member of CPI-M in a Facebook note.

On the other hand, there is widely-shared criticism against Malayalam television channels for fanning the situation. All television channels have been conducting prime time discussions on Swapna’s allegations on a daily basis. “I really don’t understand what is happening with the media in Kerala,” Sashikumar, the founder of Asianet Television and the Asian School of Journalism told The Federal.

“This is not journalism indeed. No media is asking the fundamental questions regarding the gold smuggling, as who had sent the gold and for whom,” said Sashikumar, adding that the media is inciting non-issues evading the fundamental duty of asking the right questions.

Also read: Kill me, end the story: Gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh breaks down

“The media in Kerala has become the voice of Hindutva forces and the agents of corporate imperialism,” said the Progressive Writers Forum, the collective of Left leaning writers in Kerala in a press release. “RSS has launched a war against their political opponents. The allegations against the government regarding gold smuggling are part of their agenda to destabilise the democratically elected government. The media is helping them to win in their evil intentions,” said Shaji N Karun, filmmaker and the President of Progressive Writers Forum.

In yet another development, Swapna Suresh has filed a petition in the high court to quash the FIR filed against her by former minister K T Jaleel. The FIR, in which Swapna Suresh and PC George (former MLA) were named as accused, has been filed under sections 153 A and 120 B of IPC for conspiracy and attempting to create riots by making false allegations against the CM, his family members, K T Jaleel and a couple of former IAS officers.

In her petition, Swapna has alleged that the CM, wife Kamala, daughter Veena, his former secretaries Nalini Netto and Sivasankar, K T Jaleel and Sree Ramakrishnan (former speaker of the legislative assembly) are involved in ‘several anti-social and anti-national activities involving the consulate’.

She claimed that she ‘was cleverly used by these persons in collusion with the Consulate General of UAE using its diplomatic protection’. She further stated that she ‘was put to heavy harassment and immense pressure to make sure that she doesn’t spill out anything about the involvement of the above persons to the Central Agencies which were conducting the investigation’.

Swapna has requested the high court to give direction to the Central government to provide protection to her as she does not trust the state police.

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