Nineteen activists of the Students' Federation of India (SFI), the students wing of the ruling CPI(M), have been arrested and remanded so far in connection with the attack on Congress MP Rahul Gandhi's office here and more arrests are expected on Saturday, police said. All the arrested persons were identified as local SFI activists and they were remanded for two weeks by a local court.
"The arrest of 19 people have been recorded so far. Some more persons were taken into custody and more arrests are expected to take place today. At present, the case is investigated by the Mananthavady Deputy Superintendent of Police and it will be handed over to the ADGP-led special investigation team soon," he told PTI.
Hours after SFI activists vandalised the Wayanad office of Gandhi, the Left government on Friday night ordered a high-level probe by an ADGP-rank officer and suspended Kalpetta Deputy Superintendent of Police pending enquiry.
Meanwhile, the opposition Congress continued to charge that the vandalisation of Gandhi's office and the act of violence was done with the knowledge of the ruling Marxist party and its top leadership
Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, V D Satheesan visited the vandalised office this morning and reiterated that it was done with the knowledge of Vijayan. He also alleged that a former personal staff of Health Minister Veena George was among those involved in the attack on Gandhi's office here.
"Congress and UDF will continue our protest. Goondaism thrives in Kerala with Pinarayi Government's active support," he tweeted earlier. A protest march of the SFI against Rahul Gandhi's office here on Friday turned violent as a group of activists entered the Lok Sabha member's office and vandalised it, prompting the Chief Minister to strongly condemn the incident and warn of stern action against the culprits.
The incident occurred when the SFI activists held a march to Gandhi's Office alleging his inaction in the issue of buffer zones around forests. While the main opposition party claimed that the attack happened with the knowledge of the Vijayan, the chief minister, in a strongly worded message, said this land ensures space for freedom of expression and democratic protest but it was a wrong practice if it turns into violence.
A recent Supreme Court order mandates the maintenance of an eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of one kilometre around national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, which has led to widespread protest in various parts of Kerala.
The high range areas of Kerala, particularly in Idukki, Wayanad, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta districts, had been witnessing hartals by various political and farmers' groups against the apex court order delivered on June 3.
-With PTI Input