The main road of the Kerala capital was strewn with stones, broken tubelights, used non-lethal high-sounding grenades and petrol bombs Wednesday morning, as policemen tried to pacify angry activists of the Students Federation of India (SFI) protesting against the state government’s decision to grant autonomy to a few colleges in the state.
Five student activists and a few passers-by were injured in the melee.
The SFI is the students’ wing of the Communist Party of India-Marxist, the main opposition in the Kerala assembly.
Trouble began after students marching towards the state assembly were stopped on the way, and some protestors attempted to breach the barricades.
The police first used water cannons and later used high-sounding grenades to disburse the unruly crowd. CPI-M politburo member and party deputy leader in the assembly Kodiyeri Balakrishnan intervened and pacified students, asking them not to disturb the peace and maintain calm.
The students dispersed after Balakrishnan’s intervention, but re-grouped after a while in front of the state-owned University College at Palayam in the heart of the Kerala capital.
Students pelted stones and old tubelights at policemen, forcing the police to enter the college campus. Senior policemen intervened, and asked the policemen to move out of the college.
After an hour’s angry protests, the area was strewn with glass pieces and stones.
“Don’t worry you have protested for the right cause. In the end, you will be successful, and achieve what you stand for. With this, we will call off today’s protests,” CPI-M central committee member and party legislator E.P. Jayarajan told the angry students, urging them to disperse.