THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Three policemen and a two women activists were injured when the BJP district committee's Secretariat march turned violent here on Monday. The party had organised the march to protest against the government's refusal to take steps to end the ongoing hunger strike by party state general secretary A N Radhakrishnan.
To protest against the police action, the party has called for a dawn-to-dusk hartal in the district on Tuesday. Scores of protesters including women reached the Secretariat's main gate around 12.15 pm raising slogans against the government. When they tried to push back the barricades, the police used water
cannons to disperse them. The police twice used the water jets, and later fired grenade and tear gas shells to dissuade the protesters.
At the same time, three policemen who were on duty near the protest venue where Radhakrishnan was holding his strike, were allegedly assaulted by party workers. They also hurled chairs, chappals and
sticks on the police. The police did not take any action against the agitators. Later, some activists conducted namajapam in the middle of the road blocking traffic for nearly an hour.
The Cantonment police have registered cases against the BJP activists. They have been booked under Sections 143, 147, 148, 149, 188, 283 and 332 of the Indian Penal Code, which pertain to various offences including unlawful assembly, rioting, and voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servants from discharging his duty.
Govt should intervene: Kannanthanam
Union Minister of State for Tourism Alphons Kannanthanam said doctors have advised Radhakrishnan be shifted to the hospital after his blood sugar lever and blood pressure came down.
"Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan should act now. Radhakrishnan is protesting as a representative of all the devotees in Kerala. His health condition has worsened. So the government should intervene," said Kannanthanam.
MLAs O Rajagopal and P C George also reached the venue to express solidarity with Radhakrishnan.
BJP district president S Suresh said the police brutally attacked the activists and this was uncalled for.
"On the eighth day of Radhakrishnan's hunger strike, the police deliberately tried to sabotage our protest. Even when AN's health worsened, the government is doing everything to end the BJP's protest. But we'll defend that move," he said.