CPM’s violent Black Day in Kerala

via VR Jayaraj | Thiruvananthapuram - Daily Pioneer published on June 8, 2009

The Kerala CPI(M) on Monday resorted to the technique of intimidation by turning the Black Day, called to protest against Governor RS Gavai’s act of permitting the prosecution of Pinarayi Vijayan in the SNC Lavalin case, into a campaign of violence even as the LDF Government started an open war against the Governor by canceling his programmes. Security for the Governor had to be stepped up after the Raj Bhavan received a telephone call from the Gulf threatening Gawai, on Sunday night.

Attacks on media offices, burning of newspaper bundles, arson on Government vehicles, forced closure of shops, offices and educational institutions, stone-pelting on vehicles, attacks on the offices of political opponents and road-blocks marked the day almost all over the State. Effigies of Governor Gavai were burned in many places.

The State secretariat of the CPI(M) had on the instructions of the central leadership announced the observance of Black Day after withdrawing the calls for hartals in various districts. However, this did not have any effect on the protests on Monday as the Black Day became violent hartal in many districts, including Kannur, the Marxist fortress of Kerala.

The protestors set ablaze a car of the Central Excise in Kozhikode. A five-member gang first smashed the windscreens, poured gasoline into the vehicle and set it ablaze. Fire Force and police personnel doused the fire before the vehicle was totally gutted. Torching of government vehicle was reported from Thiruvananthapuram also.

A group of protestors attacked a house in Thalassery where pro-Congress KSU workers were staying early Monday morning. The gang attacked the occupants of the house and two persons, including a State KSU leader, were admitted to hospital with serious injuries. The entire house was ransacked and the gang also damaged a car parked in front of the house.

The Congress party office in Koothuparambu, a CPI(M) stronghold came under attack, while policemen in large number were deployed to protect the Janata Dal (S) offices in Kannur district. The Thalassery bureau office of Mathrubhumi newspaper, which had published several reports on the alleged role of Pinarayi in the SNC Lavalin deal, came under Marxist attack early Monday morning.

The protestors torched nearly 20,000 copies of newspapers, mainly of anti-communist Malayala Manorama, in Kannur district. The Black Day was equivalent to a bandh in Kannur with all shops, office and schools remaining closed and vehicles keeping off the roads.

Reports of stone-pelting at vehicles and forced closure of shops came from Kasaragod, Palakkad, etc while CPI(M) workers forced several offices in Kayamkulam, Alappuzha to close. A school and a college came under attack in Alappuzha town. Workers of Pro-CPI(M) student outfit SFI held a march to the CBI office in Kochi and burned the effigy of Governor Gawai at the office gates.

At the same time, the CPI(M) launched a direct war against Governor Gawai for permitting the prosecution of Pinarayi in the Rs 374.5-crore SNC Lavalin corruption scam overruling the recommendation of the State Cabinet and the advice of the Advocate General. The Government on Monday cancelled a programme to be held on Wednesday, meant for distributing tourism awards, in which Gawai was scheduled to participate.

Though the Department of Tourism, organizers of the programme, informed the Raj Bhavan that the cancellation was due to the inconvenience of Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, sources in the department suspected that this was part of a CPI(M) plan to “excommunicate” the Governor from government functions. They indicated that such acts could continue from the part of the Government against the Governor.

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