Protest at Kochi Corporation office over Brahmapuram fire turns violent

Police use force to control crowd at corporation office, two UDF councillors severely injured in the melee

Published: 14th March 2023 07:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th March 2023 07:31 AM   |  A+A-

UDF Councillor Tibin Devasy injured after the police lathi resorted charge during the protest at Kochi Municipal Corporation on Monday.(Express Photo by A Sanesh)

By Express News Service

KOCHI: The protests over the smouldering waste at Brahmapuram plant turned the Kochi Corporation office into a battleground as councillors belonging to the UDF and BJP clashed with police during their protest against Mayor M Anilkumar when he arrived to attend a special council meeting to discuss the vexed issue on Monday.   

Since Monday morning, UDF and BJP councillors have been staging a protest in front of the corporation office, wearing black dresses and shouting slogans against the mayor demanding his resignation. Over a hundred police officials, including Rapid Response and Rescue Force (RRRF), were deployed at the corporation office in the wake of the protest planned by the Opposition. 

The mayor had called a special council meeting at 3pm on Monday to discuss the ministerial-level directions related to waste management. 

As soon as the mayor’s vehicle reached the office compound, the protest turned violent. The Opposition councillors, including BJP members, tried to stop the mayor but failed as a large posse of policemen and RRRF officials blocked them. 

Congress activists pulled to a corner by the police as their protest turned violent when the mayor reached the office on Monday

Within minutes, the whole atmosphere turned violent as the police had to use force to control the crowd. Two UDF councillors, who were severely injured in the melee, fell on the ground with blood oozing out. The police resorted to lathicharge when the UDF councillors tried to enter the corporation building. Two UDF councillors, Tibin Devassy and A R Padmadas, were severely injured, among other councillors. DCC president Mohammed Shiyas was also injured in the clash. Councillors Padmadas and Tibin were rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment. 

“This is the first time in the history of Kochi Corporation that such a violent clash between the police and the protestors took place on its office premises. The police officers were brutal with us. We were staging a normal protest against the mayor. But the police, for no reason, began to beat us and resorted to lathicharge. Several members were injured in the police action,” said Deepthi Mary Varghese, a UDF councillor. 

She also alleged that policemen locked many activists, including woman councillors, inside a small room adjacent to the secretary’s office and beat them up. “We were pushed into a room with the shield and beaten up by policemen. There were no women officers. We will not allow M Anilkumar to continue as mayor,” said Deepthi. Blood was seen scattered on the floor of the room. When the violent clash was going on outside the corporation office, the mayor and LDF councillors were holding a council meeting inside.

Police caning UDF workers at the mayor’s office | PICS:  A Sanesh

Opposition leader Antony Kureethara said that they will not allow passing the agenda that was discussed in the council in the absence of UDF and BJP councillors. “In protest against the police brutality, UDF has decided to boycott council meetings in future. We were beaten up brutally by the police. We will not allow any council meeting to take place from now on,” said councillor Antony.

Actor Mammootty has taken the initiative to arrange a mobile medical unit for Brahmapuram and nearby places. His Care and Share Foundation, along with Aluva Rajagiri Hospital, will be conducting free medical check-ups from Tuesday. The mobile medical unit will be visiting the affected areas with oxygen concentrators and medicines. The unit will be functioning under the leadership of Dr Biju Raghavan. A medical team under Dr Rajesh and Dr Sunny P Orethel has also been set up. Care and Share Foundation has also distributed high-quality masks at Brahmapuram.

Tuesday - Brahmapuram in Vadavucode Puthencruz
Wednesday - Pinarmunda in Kunnathunadu 
Thursday - Vadakke Irumpanam in Tripunithura

The health department’s survey to study the health issues in Brahmapuram and nearby areas will begin on Tuesday. As many as 202 Asha workers were given training on Monday for conducting the survey. The training programmes were organised by the Department of Health and Department of Medical Education, under the guidance of community health specialist Dr Sairu Philip. Asha workers will be collecting information from the houses using online facilities. 

India Matters


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