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25 SFI activists arrested over attack on Rahul’s Wayanad office

Health Minister Veena George said that she would examine the allegation that her personal staff was involved in the attack.

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram |
Updated: June 26, 2022 2:24:22 am
Rahul Gandhi's office in Wayanad after getting attacked. (Express)

The Kerala Police on Saturday arrested 25 activists of the SFI, the students’ wing of the ruling CPI(M), in connection with the vandalisation of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s MP office in Wayanad on Friday.

On Friday, more than 100 SFI workers marched to Rahul’s office in Kalpetta, headquarters of Wayanad district, demanding that he intervene to allay the anxiety of people in his constituency in the wake of a recent Supreme Court directive that made it mandatory for every protected forest tract and wildlife sanctuary to have an eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of one kilometre from its boundaries.

The attack on Rahul’s office sparked widespread protests from the Congress in all districts in Kerala, with party workers blocking highways, clashing with police and CPI(M) workers, and destroying CPI(M) campaign material. On Saturday, too, the Congress took to the streets in many places, clashed with police.

Opposition leader V D Satheesan of the Congress alleged that the CPI(M) had joined hands with the BJP to target Rahul. “Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wants to please Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Sangh Parivar. Modi wants to chase away Rahul Gandhi from Wayanad and this task has been taken over by Vijayan. The attack was staged with the connivance of the CPI(M),’’ he said.

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Hours after the Opposition alleged that Kerala Health Minister Veena George’s personal staff member was involved in the attack, the government issued an order removing K R Avishith as office attendant to the minister. Avishith, an SFI leader from Wayanad, was allegedly involved in the office attack on Friday. When the Opposition raised the allegation against her personal staff member, the minister had initially claimed that Avishith had quit job early this month. However, the general administration department issued the order relieving Avishith  only on Saturday afternoon. The removal was with retrospective effect from June 15.

Senior Congress leaders K C Venugopal, K Sudhakaran and Satheesan had rushed to Wayanad, where the UDF took out a massive rally in protest against the attack. Office of CPI(M) daily Deshabhimai was allegedly stoned by  Congress workers.

Addressing the rally in Kalpetta, Sudhakaran said the Congress is capable of retaliating.

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Meanwhile, the CPI(M) leadership, which condemned the attack on Rahul’s office, on Saturday summoned the SFI state leaders to the party state headquarters and expressed their displeasure about the incident. SFI national president V P Sanu said the organisation would examine in detail about the incident in Wayanad. “We will take action against those involved in the attack,” he said.

The state government had suspended a deputy police superintendent in Wayanad over the failure to prevent the SFI workers from storming Rahul’s office. The government also ordered a probe into the incident.

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First published on: 25-06-2022 at 02:13:59 pm

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