THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Hundreds of protesters under the banner of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) laid a siege to the Secretariat on Thursday disrupting normal life in the city for hours. The DYFI workers were on a statewide protest against the Government move to raise the pension age. The City Police had made elaborate arrangements to contain any untoward incident as part of the protest. The police, as announced earlier, diverted traffic on the main road to byroads, which resulted in occasional traffic snarls.
Long queues of vehicles, including school vans, were witnessed in many parts of the city.
A large police posse was camping near the Secretariat from early morning. The protest in front of the Secretariat was organised by the DYFI district committee. The protesters reached Statue Junction as early as 6.30 am. They then blocked all the gates of the Secretariat, except the Cantonment gate, which is mostly used by Ministers and officials.
The protesters’ move to block the Cantonment gate was foiled by the police. Around 50 protestors were taken into custody from Bakery Junction by the Cantonment Police.
CPM politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan inaugurated the protest. CPM district secretary Kadakampally Surendran, M Vijayakumar, V Sivankutty MLA, Anavoor Nagappan, DYFI district president B Biju and secretary S P Deepak addressed the protesters.
Police Remain Alert
The City Police had deployed a large number of personnel to contain any violence as part of the protest. The arrangements were in the wake of the recent violent incidents during a protest staged by the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) workers in front of the Secretariat. Tear gas and stun grenade teams were also present.
Traffic Goes Haywire
Though the police action to divert vehicles was aimed at saving innocent travellers from becoming victims of anticipated violence, it resulted in untold miseries to commuters, especially school-going children and office-goers. As the traffic diversion was during the peak morning hours, school buses and vans were seen stranded in the traffic snarls.