Uproar in Kerala assembly: UDF accuses SFI of violent activities, CM defends it

The Kerala assembly witnessed an uproar on Thursday as the opposition Congress accused the SFI of indulging in criminal activities in state campuses, prompting Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to defend the Left student outfit and counter-allege atrocities by the Congress-backed KSU.
Kerala CM P Vijayan
Kerala CM P Vijayan

Thiruvananthapuram | The Kerala assembly witnessed an uproar on Thursday as the opposition Congress accused the SFI of indulging in criminal activities in state campuses, prompting Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to defend the Left student outfit and counter-allege atrocities by the Congress-backed KSU.

The Congress-led UDF alleged that the CM and CPI(M) were providing political patronage to its student outfit -- Students Federation of India (SFI) -- which they claimed was responsible for violent and criminal activities in university campuses and beyond, across the state.

The allegation was made by the opposition in the notice moved by several UDF MLAs, including M Vincent, seeking adjournment of the House proceedings to discuss the alleged beating up of a leader of the Kerala Students Union (KSU), the student wing of the Congress, by the SFI on the University of Kerala campus here.

The opposition's motion was rejected by Vijayan who said that the police have registered cases in connection with the alleged beating of the KSU leader on Tuesday and the conflict between two student groups outside the Sreekaryam police station on Wednesday.

The CM said that all the cases were being investigated properly by the police which has taken action without any political bias or discrimination.

He said that everyone, including universities and political parties, should work together to prevent violence and conflict on the campuses.

In view of the CM's reply, Speaker A N Shamseer denied permission for the motion to adjourn the House.

Vijayan, while opposing the UDF claims, referred to the bomb attack on the AKG centre, the alleged attempt to attack him on a plane and the damage to Mahatma Gandhi's photo in Rahul Gandhi's Wayanad office after SFI activists left there, and said that these instances indicate how the Congress uses wrong means to spread its propaganda against the Left party.

He also alleged atrocities by the pro-Congress student outfit and accused the grand old party's leadership of defending the KSU.

The CM also reiterated that the removal of KSU and Youth Congress activists from in front of the Nava Kerala Sadas bus was a "rescue operation", saying "I had said so in the past, I will say it now and will every time in the future".

He also said, "Conflicts on campus are condemnable and undesirable. Those responsible for this should face action. However, there should be no attempt to distort the facts by placing all the blame on a particular organisation."

Responding to the CM's remarks, Leader of Opposition in the state assembly V D Satheesan contended it was Vijayan's words, like "rescue operation", which encouraged SFI to allegedly carry out violent acts on the campuses.

Satheesan said the Left party's defeat in the LS polls was the outcome of such "political patronage" given by the CM and his party to the SFI "whose actions were increasingly becoming uncontrollable".

The opposition leader said that Vijayan referred to various other incidents like the AKG centre bomb attack as he was unable to answer the opposition accusation that SFI attacked Vincent when he arrived at the Sreekaryam police station.

"He was attacked by the SFI activists in the presence of over 50 police personnel. The police stood as mute spectators," he contended.

Vincent too referred to the alleged attack on him by the SFI activists and claimed that the Left student outfit has become a "liability" and its activities were one of the reasons for many students opting for higher education outside the state.

The MLA claimed that the CM always defends and justifies the violence allegedly perpetrated by the SFI.

Satheesan too spoke along similar lines when he said that the SFI will be the cause for the downfall of the CPI(M) in the state.

However, his walkout speech was interrupted several times by shouts from the LDF MLAs and ministers who got up from their seats, resulting in several UDF MLAs trooping to the well of the House in protest.

Subsequently, the UDF MLAs shouted slogans against the Left government, SFI and the police before the Speaker's dais and held up placards which said -- 'this is Niyamasabha (state assembly), not a party centre' and 'take action against CPI(M) goondas who attacked the MLAs'.

As the opposition MLAs shouted slogans in front of the Speaker's dais, the House quickly completed the rest of the business for the day and Shamseer said the assembly will reconvene on Friday.

The Congress in Kerala had on Wednesday slammed the SFI for allegedly beating up a KSU leader and attacking Vincent.

The KSU also took out a protest march to the Secretariat alleging police inaction in the matter and the booking of MLAs Vincent and Chandy Oommen as well as KSU activists in connection with the violent scenes outside Sreekaryam police station in the intervening night of July 2-3.

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