Thiruvananthapuram: Eight activists including one nun has been injured after a protest march taken out by the Kerala Latin Catholic Women’s Association to the official residence of Forest Minister K. Raju turned unruly.
The demonstration was organised in protest against the destruction of a wooden cross that had been found to be damaged a month ago at Kurisumala in Bonacaud. The forum, a feeder organisation of the Kerala Regional Latin Catholic Church, took out the march in protest against the alleged delay in apprehending those responsible for the incident. Nuns and children were among those who took part in the procession.
Police blocked them when they tried to break the police barricade to move towards the residence. Police said they blocked the march when agitators tried to break the barricade and move further towards the minister’s residence.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala alleged that police used force on the women protesters, a charge denied by police. Chennithala wanted a probe and action against the police personnel responsible for it.
Condemning the incident, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president M.M. Hassan accused the government of unleashing the police and using force to suppress popular agitations. Such actions could not be tolerated at any cost. he added. He also alleged that there were no women police officers among those who were deployed to handle the agitation.
The police however ruled out any kind of lathi charge. “When they tried to forcibly enter the minister’s residence the police blocked them. We didn’t resort to lathi charge,” said a senior police official.
The row has been brewing at Bonacaud since August 2017 when crosses were found demolished. Permission was granted for installing the wooden cross at a meeting called by forest minister K Raju with representatives of Neyyattinkara diocese of the Latin Catholic Church and forest officials in August.
Fresh row was sparked off in November, when the cross erected following the meeting with minister was again found demolished.
Bishop of Neyyattinkara Diocese -Vincent Samuel, vicar of Parassala forane church Fr Robert Vincent were among those who visited the injured at General hospital, Thiruvananthapuram.
source: The Hindu