Kerala on High Alert as Country Bomb Hurled at CPI(M) State Headquarters
Police have stepped up protection for all prominent offices of the CPI (M) and the Congress in Kerala.
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Tensions escalated between the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the Opposition Congress in Kerala as a crude bomb was hurled at the headquarters of the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Thiruvananthapuram on the night of Thursday, 30 June.
"We are on alert because of the tensions simmering in the state. Police will ensure to maintain the law and order situation," said a senior police official.
CCTV visuals show a two-wheeler rider hurling the explosive at AKG Centre at around 11.30 pm. Leaders staying at the centre said they heard a loud blast. A team of experts were rushed to the party’s state headquarters to probe the incident.
Hundreds of functionaries of the party, including senior leaders, also rushed to the spot. Party cadre took out a march in the state capital, raising slogans against the Congress. The Congress leadership in the state has denied any links to the incident. Also, the Kerala Police has given protection to the party offices of both the CPI(M) and the Congress.
Police Security Beefed Up at Crucial Points
Thiruvananthapuram City Police Commissioner Sparjan Kumar told the media on Friday that an assistant commissioner would be probing the incident.
"Efforts are on to identify the vehicle. Neither the attacker nor the number of the bike he used could be identified from the CCTV footage. Forensic experts have already visited the area and collected evidence. The type of explosive used can be stated only after examining the item," he added.
The police have stepped up protection for all prominent offices of the CPI (M) and Congress in Kerala, including the Assembly and Secretariat.
Additional police security was extended to Cliff House, the official residence of the chief minister, and also the residences of various ministers. Police have been deployed at the State Assembly, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) headquarters in the capital, Indira Bhavan, residences of the chief minister and KPCC chief in Kannur, and the CPI(M) district committee office in Kannur.
'Well-Planned' Attack by Congress: CPI(M)
Meanwhile, CPI(M) central committee member and convener of LDF EP Jayarajan blamed the Congress party for the attack.
"The bomb attack was a well-planned one. It is a sequel to the Congress' recent attacks on CPI (M) offices. It can be seen as a part of converting Congress into a semi-cadre system. CPI (M) workers would not get provoked," Jayarajan told reporters.
CPI (M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan alleged that attempt was aimed at making Kerala "a land of riots." He urged the party workers to keep calm and hold peaceful protests. Finance Minister KN Balagopal said that politics should be carried out in a peaceful manner.
However, the District Congress Committee (DCC) office in Kottayam was attacked on Friday early morning. Stones were pelted on the window-panes allegedly by CPI(M) protesters.
In Alappuzha, an Indira Gandhi statue near the main post office was allegedly damaged at night.
Attack Was Scripted by CPI(M): Congress
Dismissing the allegations, Congress state president K Sudhakaran said that the attack was scripted by the ruling party. "I won’t blame even CPI(M). Jayarajan is behind that attack. AKG Centre has police protection. Will any Congress worker dare hurl explosives there?" he asked.
This incident comes on the heels of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's visit to Wayanad on Friday, 1 July. Strict security measures have been enforced at the Kannur Airport, along the route of his visit.
"When Rahul Gandhi is visiting Wayanad on Friday, will any Congress worker attack the CPI(M) office to spoil the day? CPI(M) wanted to divert the attention from Rahul’s visit. Only a person familiar with AKG Centre can carry out such an attack."Congress State President K Sudhakaran
Gandhi's visit to the constituency comes a week after activists of Student Federation of India (SFI), the student wing of ruling CPI(M), allegedly vandalised his office in Kalpetta in Wayanad.
The march was against alleged inaction by Gandhi, who is the MP of Wayanad, regarding the eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) issue, which is now raging in the hilly district. The SFI students allegedly smashed window panes and destroyed furniture.
The Congress held protests across the state and alleged that the violence took place with the knowledge of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Vijayan had retorted sharply saying that everyone in CPI(M) had condemned the attack and also immediate arrests of the SFI workers were made.
Ruling CPI(M) and the Opposition Congress have been at loggerheads over the last one month. Following the allegations of gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his family members, the Congress-led Opposition has been demanding a CBI probe.
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