THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Political violence rocked the state capital as CPM and BJP workers engaged in a series of attacks against each other from Thursday night over a student union election at a private college in Attukal. Party offices and vehicles were damaged in the clashes that were first reported from Attukal and Manacaud areas.
Ten houses, including those of ward councillors belonging to both parties, were vandalised. CITU Manacaud area secretary Shyam, who was injured in the attacks, was admitted into a private hospital. While DYFI Chalai area secretary Unni was manhandled, window panes of CPM area secretary SA Sunder's house were damaged in stone pelting. A CPM councillor was seen smashing glass with a baseball bat.
Houses of BJP's corporation councillor SKP Ramesh, Attukal councillor and BJP district secretary Beena and Kalippankulam ward councillor and CPM leader Rasiya Begum were also attacked. Vehicles parked in front of their houses were damaged. A tailor was also manhandled in the melee.
BJP state committee office and CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan's son's house were also among the places targeted during the attacks. About six vehicles parked in front of the BJP office, including that of party state president Kummanam Rajasekharan, were damaged. A heavy posse of police has been deployed in several parts of the city following the incidents.
Kodeiyeri Balakrishnan alleged that the BJP resorted to violence to divert public attention from the medical college scam involving BJP leaders. On the other hand, BJP leader V Muraleedharan alleged that CPM workers were given free hand by the ruling LDF government to attack BJP workers.
CCTV footage of policemen standing as mute spectators to the attack on BJP office invited sharp criticism. City police commissioner R Sparjan Kumar later informed that two personnel had been suspended from service for their inaction. He said that cases with non-bailable charges were registered in connection with all the incidents and police pickets have been set up in different parts of the state capital.