Kerala Assembly proceedings stalled over student protestsJune 23rd, 2008 - 3:47 pm ICT by IANS
Thiruvananthapuram, June 23 (IANS) The Kerala Assembly session that began Monday witnessed some stormy scenes as the opposition repeatedly stalled proceedings over the “violent” suppression of student protests last week against the contents of the Class 7 social studies text book. Immediately after the question hour, the opposition led by Congress leader K.C. Venugopal sought permission for an adjournment motion to discuss the “brutal police attack” on student agitations across the state in the past week.
State Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan replied, alleging that leader of opposition Oommen Chandy was leading the “violent” student protests.
“Student agitations are welcome but what happened in the last week is a well-planned attack on the police. We all know the opposition is using this to revive their cadres as the country is likely to see a parliamentary election (soon),” Balakrishnan said.
Chandy asserted that the student agitations had not turned violent at any point.
“At one place, the police registered a case against students because they tore government paper. This happened in a private school. When I was chief minister, your student organisation leaders barged into my office. They were not beaten up but were arrested. That is the way things should be,” said Chandy.
The opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) also raised the issue of two of their legislators - T.N. Pratapan and Thomas Chazhikadan - being assaulted by police when they inaugurated student demonstrations.
Pratapan was in the assembly with his right hand in plaster, while Chazhikadan is convalescing in the hospital.
Students have been holding demonstrations across the state, demanding the withdrawal of the Class 7 social studies text book because it apparently has little on the independence struggle led by Mahatma Gandhi and other leaders, but more on communist history.
Dissatisfied with the home minister’s reply, the entire opposition walked out of the house. On regrouping, they demanded that the police officials who attacked the legislators be suspended.
They also pressed for a judicial probe into issue. Getting no response from the treasury benches, the opposition marched towards the speaker’s podium, shouting slogans.
This forced speaker K. Radhakrishnan to wind up the day’s proceedings after passing two bills that were slated for discussion.
The ongoing session is the eighth of the 12th Kerala assembly and it will end on July 23.
Tags: adjournment motion, assembly proceedings, balakrishnan, communist history, congress leader, democratic front, government paper, home minister, independence struggle, leader of opposition, mahatma gandhi, organisation leaders, parliamentary election, police attack, student demonstrations, student organisation, student protests, venugopal, violent student, violent suppression