Opposition Congress led UDF and BJP workers were engaged in pitched battles with the police in Capital city and many parts of the state on Monday, demanding resignation of higher education minister K T Jaleel.
The epicenter of the opposition agitation was the state secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram where the agitators had gathered since morning holding demonstrations, protests and marches. A march led by youth congress workers to the secretariat turned violent when agitators tried to remove the barricades put in front of secretariat main gate.
The police used water cannons to disperse the protestors and resorted to mild lathicharge in which many Congress workers including K S Sabarinathan MLA were injured. The police also used stun grenades to disperse the agitators.
The agitation led by Youth Congress state president Shafi Parambil MLA continued for a couple of hours turning the city centre into a battle zone. The YC march protest was followed by a march of BJP and Yuva Morcha . The police used force to force against the agitators.
Similar agitations took place in Kozhikode, Kannur, Kasargod, Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Wayanad.
The opposition parties have been up in arms against Jaleel after the minister was questioned by ED in connection with the allegations regarding aid sought from the UAE consulate during Ramzan in violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act , 2010 (accepting foreign aid without Centre's permission), diplomatic baggage used to bring copies of Quran and gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh’s role in arranging the flood relief kits.
Meanwhile, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has defended Jaleel saying he has committed no wrong. He said the opposition was resorting to violent agitation on a baseless issue, to create law and order problems in the state.
The chief minister said on Monday that there was no precedent of a person resigning on the basis of questioning by an agency. In this case the agency has received some complaints and they wanted certain clarifications from the minister.
“There is no allegation against Jaleel. The opposition is trying to cook up a story. As far as the gold smuggling case is concerned, some of the accused have been caught and the investigations are on to get others who are involved .
Vijayan said the opposition was trying to link the Quran issue with the gold smuggling case. On what basis are they raising such allegations and demanding the minister's resignation? he asked. There is no need for him to resign on such baseless allegations.
The chief minister said there should not have been a controversy over getting copies of Quran from the UAE consulate. Jaleel is minister of Wakf and distribution of quran is normal during Ramadan period when zakat is given.
The chief minister said people of the state will reject the opposition stand on the issue.