Gold smuggling: Congress, BJP youth outfits protest demanding Pinarayi's resignation

Gold smuggling: Congress, BJP youth outfits protest demanding Pinarayi's resignation

Thiruvananthapuram: The youth outfits of the Congress and BJP continued their protest demanding the resignation of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan over the gold smuggling case on Saturday.

The state-wide agitations turned violent at some places.

The chief minister, reacting to it, said organising such protests violating COVID-19 protocol will not be allowed. The government is not questioning anyone's right to protest, he said.

The opposition parties are targeting the chief minister after it emerged that a key woman suspect in the case, Swapna Suresh, a former UAE Consulate employee, had been employed on contract by the IT department, a portfolio held by Pinarayi.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which has taken over the probe into the case, saying it had international linkages, had on Friday registered an FIR against four people under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

In the state capital, Yuva Morcha activists charged into a posh flat complex very near the Secretariat, broke the glass panel and poured black oil after reports emerged that former IT secretary M Sivasankar occupied one of the flats.

The senior IAS officer, who was also the chief minister's secretary, was removed from the two posts after his name was linked with an accused in the case.

Five Yuva Morcha activists who broke the glass panel were removed by police.

Gold smuggling: Congress, BJP youth outfits protest demanding Pinarayi's resignation

The Morcha protest at Adoor in Pathanamthitta turned violent and police resorted to a lathi charge to disperse the activists. Some of the protesters were injured.

In Kollam, Kerala Students Union (KSU) of the Congress tried to take out a procession to the District Collectorate and police used water cannons to disperse them.

In a related development, Opposition leader in the assembly Ramesh Chennithala, wrote to the DGP, demanding that state police file an FIR in the case, in which the customs had seized 30 kg gold from a diplomatic baggage that had landed at the air cargo of the international airport here on on July 5.

Chennithala said the Chief Minister's office should also be brought under the purview of the probe. The Congress leader told reporters COVID-19 protocol was being followed during the agitations launched by UDF.

(With inputs from PTI)

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