THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The confrontation between agitating SFI cadres and cops in various parts of the state the other day, which had a repeat in a few places on Tuesday also, had an expected run in the Assembly with the Opposition once again highlighting the uncertainty prevailing over the delay in distribution of school textbooks.
The need for student outfits to change tracks according to the times while organising protests, by shunning violence, also came into the domain.
While the alleged police excesses against students made the Opposition benches irate, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala wriggled out by promising that directives have been given for utmost restraint while dealing with student agitations, even if there is extreme provocation. At the same time, he stressed that a thinking of a few that agitations will leave its mark only if displayed with violenceis obsolete.
“The capital city was like a battlefield for nearly two-and-a-half hours,” he pointed out and thanked a few CPM MLAs who had intervened to pacify SFI cadres.
Despite the genuine cause of the student stir, the Opposition and the government were at odds on the methods deployed by SFI cadres. Naming CPM MLAs A K Balan, K Suresh Kurup and T M Thomas Isaac, the Home Minister said that all including himself were bred through student politics and times have changed.
“The textbooks issue is genuine. But one should know that pelting stones and hurling petrol bombs at the police were agitations of the 20th century. The protest had crossed all limits. Across the state, several policemen were injured. Aren’t they also human beings?” the minister asked, while replying to notice for adjournment motion moved by T V Rajesh (CPM).
The MLA had blamed the cops who lobbed grenades at the SFI cadres which had driven them to react.
Education Minister P K Abdu Rabb was the main target of the Opposition. V S Achuthanandan ridiculed him for creating the mess and alleged corruption charges as well.