Kerala Class 11 seat row: Student unions continue protest against state government

As the matter was being discussed in the House, a section of KSU and MSF members marched towards the Legislative Assembly complex but were stopped by the police.
A KSU activist ties a black flag on General Education Minister V Sivankutty’s car outside his official residence, Rose House, in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday.
A KSU activist ties a black flag on General Education Minister V Sivankutty’s car outside his official residence, Rose House, in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday. Photo | B P Deepu, EPS

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The members of KSU and MSF on Monday continued their protest across the state against the alleged shortage of plus-one (Class 11) seats in schools in the northern Malabar region of Kerala, with the agitation turning violent in some places.

Kerala Students' Union (KSU) and the Muslim Students' Federation (MSF) are the student wings of the Congress and the Indian Union Muslim League, respectively.

The student outfits held the protest marches as opposition parties in the Kerala Assembly came down heavily on the Left government over the issue.

The opposition accused the government of failing to resolve the matter related to the alleged shortage of plus-one seats in schools in northern Kerala.

As the matter was being discussed in the House, a section of KSU and MSF members marched towards the Legislative Assembly complex here but were stopped by the police.

The police resorted to using water cannons to disperse the KSU members who attempted to jump barricades.

A KSU activist ties a black flag on General Education Minister V Sivankutty’s car outside his official residence, Rose House, in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday.
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At Kollam, the student organisations headed towards the District Collectorate, where they pelted stones at police and attempted to jump the barricade.

They also destroyed banners, flex boards, and other items along the road near the Collectorate, forcing the police to fire many rounds of smoke grenades to disperse the protesters.

The KSU and MSF members also protested in Kozhikode, Wayanad, and Malappuram districts against the state government.

For the past two days, they have been staging widespread protests across the state and have waved black flags at Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Education Minister V Sivankutty.

Meanwhile, plus-one classes began in 2,076 government, aided and unaided schools across the state on Monday.

The Left government has been facing flak over the seat shortage issue after a girl student in Parappanangadi in Malappuram district in the region died by suicide on June 11, allegedly over anxiety about whether she would get a seat for plus-one to continue her studies.

The KSU has been organising protests demanding that additional plus-one batches be accommodated in schools in Malabar.

However, the Kerala government has claimed that there is no crisis in plus-one admissions at all, and Minister Sivankutty said that thousands of seats remain vacant every year after class 11 admissions are completed in the region.

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