SilverLine survey stone-laying sparks agitations


Four protesters injured in clash with police; inquiry ordered against CPO for alleged excesses

Four protesters injured in clash with police; inquiry ordered against CPO for alleged excesses

The installation of survey stones for the SilverLine project sparked violent scenes near Kaniyapuram on Thursday with four protesters sustaining injuries during a clash with the police.

While the survey has been temporarily called off, the police launched an inquiry against a police officer who has been accused of manhandling the agitators.

Attempts made by officials of the Kerala Rail Development Corporation Ltd. (K-Rail) and the Revenue department to resume the exercise at Karichara after nearly two weeks were thwarted by the Congress and K-Rail SilverLine Virudha Janakeeya Samithi activists.

Protesters, police clash

A large police posse dispatched by the Thiruvananthapuram Rural police intervened by forcibly removing the protesters from the area. While some demonstrators were injured in the melee, civil police officer Shabeer of Mangalapuram police station was caught on camera kicking a protester.

With the incident sparking outrage, District Police Chief (Thiruvananthapuram Rural) Divya V. Gopinath ordered the Special Branch Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) Stuart Keeler to inquire into the incident.

While the protesters alleged the police resorted to forceful measures without issuing a warning, the police refuted such allegations. They claimed to have only provided protection for the survey officials and were tasked with facilitating the ongoing work.

The government officials withdrew from efforts to lay the survey stones after the clash that lasted around half-an-hour. Congress workers had earlier removed the stones that were erected in Karichara and places nearby.

Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan, who visited the injured protesters, said the agitation would continue. The government will not succeed in quelling the protest, he added.

District Congress Committee president Palode Ravi condemned the alleged police excess and added the party would confront the criminal elements in the police force through legal means.

K-Rail SilverLine Virudha Janakeeya Samithi has announced a Statewide demonstration in protest against the police action. They also accused the government of attempting to disrupt peace by unleashing violence of the common populace to uproot them from their land.

Sudhakaran leads protest

In Kannur, survey stones were removed by Congress workers at Chala on Thursday evening.

About 50 stones in the 32rd ward in Chala were removed in the presence of KPCC president K. Sudhakaran and DCC president Martin George and other leaders who visited the place.

The police had a heated argument with Mr. Sudhakaran and other Congress workers who raised slogans against the LDF government.

Mr. Sudhakaran said they would not allow the planting of survey stones in Kerala. He said the people in the State would not tolerate the autocratic rule of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Earlier in the day, the Edakkad police arrested 30 activists, including women, of the K-Rail Virudha Janakiya Samithi, for preventing the officials from laying the survey stones here. They were later released.

(With inputs from Kannur bureau)

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