Protesters paying scant regard to social distancing norms: Pinarayi

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan
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Pinarayi alleged that there is a deliberate effort from the side of the protestors to trigger conflict where they are not bothered to wear face masks or maintain social distancing.

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Following a surge in Covid -19 cases in Thiruvananthapuram, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has cast aspersions against Youth Congress state president and vice president Shafi Parambil, MLA, and K S Sabarinadhan, MLA, respectively for not maintaining Covid -19 health protocol where legal action will be taken against them.

Though Pinarayi did not say that he is against protests and agitations, he urged youth organisations not to charge at the police in the light of the threat of pandemic going out of control. For the sixth consecutive day, the Secretariat witnessed a battle scene following the Youth Congress protest which prompted the chief minister to prosecute the YC leadership.

Pinarayi warned that if the protesters decide to join together without maintaining social distance and resort to destroying public property, then the government will take legal action against them. He said this while announcing the day’s Covid cases which saw Thiruvananthapuram having a record 820 cases. Pinarayi rued that the protestors are giving scant regard to alertness during this pandemic season when they are holding protests.

Pinarayi alleged that there is a deliberate effort from the side of the protestors to trigger conflict where they are not bothered to wear face masks or maintain social distancing. He informed that ever since protests were initiated against Higher Education Minister K T Jaleel for his alleged involvement in importing Quran without Central clearance, so far 385 cases have been charged against various Opposition parties and 1131 have been arrested so far.

“We have been seeing in the news how the protestors have been jumping barricades and beating police with sticks. Protests and agitations are fine, but the protesters should realise the repercussions related to the pandemic. The Covid -19 protocol has to be strictly maintained by them. The protestors’ action of charging at the police is not commendable. We will not allow them to destroy public property”, said Pinarayi.

Earlier, for the sixth consecutive day, the busy MG Road in front of the Secretariat was closed for traffic which resembled a battlefield after the police resorted to lathi charge Youth Congress protestors and also used water cannons against them. Around 2 pm, the Youth Congress Thiruvananthapuram district committee leadership took out a protest march to the Secretariat which was inaugurated by Youth Congress state president Shafi Parambil. Effigies of Jaleel and Union Minister V Muraleedharan were burned by the protestors.

“The LDF Government’s ploy to suppress our protest through bloodshed will not be tolerated. We will not get intimidated by the threat unleashed by the LDF Government. It is unfortunate that V T Balram MLA was injured in the protest march in Palakkad which also saw a woman leader being badly injured in the melee”, said Shafi Parambil.

After Shafi Parambil and Sabarinadhan had left the protest premises, the protestors and the police resorted to heckling which saw them jumping the barricade erected there. This led the Police to use water cannons against them. Prasanth, Youth Congress Kovalam constituency secretary, got trapped amid the police posse and was beaten up badly. He has injuries on his head and also experienced breathlessness owing to low blood pressure where he is currently admitted at a private hospital at Chackai here.

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