MLA VT Balram injured during police lathi charge in Palakkad

MLA VT Balram injured during lathi charge
MLA VT Balram injured during lathi charge at Palakkad
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Palakkad: Kerala on Thursday witnessed sporadic incidents of violence and lathi charge amid the growing demand for Higher Education Minister K T Jaleel's resignation.

Congress MLA VT Balram was among those injured during the lathi charge in Palakkad.

Jaleel appeared before the NIA team probing the gold smuggling case on Thursday.

The opposition Congress organised protests against the minister across Kerala for his alleged involvement in the case. VT Balram, P Sarin were among the Congress leaders rounded up and attacked by the police during the protest march. Balram has sustained an injury to the head.

In Kottayam, the police used lathi charge and three rounds of water cannon on the protestors near the Collectorate. Two protestors who tried to cross the barricade were arrested.

Water cannon was used in Kottayam, Kollam and Kozhikode.

"KT Jaleel does not deserve to continue in his seat for another moment," All India Muslim League General Secretary Kunjhalikutty said.

Jaleel has no right to teach righteousness to the Muslim League, MP ET Muhammed Basheer added.

Law Minister defends Jaleel

Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Assembly, Ramesh Chennithala said the government should resign and face elections.

In response, state Law Minister A K Balan said "seeking information" was part of the procedure of investigation and there was no need for anyone to resign.

"The NIA normally questions someone for a scheduled crime. At least now, the Chief Minister should seek the resignation of Jaleel. It seems like the Chief Minister is refusing to seek the resignation because he fears the probe will reach his office. The government should resign under these circumstances and face an election," Chennithala said at a press conference at Haripad, his home constituency in Alappuzha district.

Balan hit back at the opposition leader and told the media in Palakkad that the demand for resignation would have had some sense if Jaleel had been arraigned as an accused in any case.

"It's just part of the procedure that the investigating agency seeks information on the matters. There is no need for anyone to resign just because some allegations were raised. If he (Jaleel) is arraigned as an accused, then there is a sense in demanding the resignation but now there is no need for it...," Balan said.

BJP steps up protests

Meanwhile, BJP state chief K Surendran said the allegations faced by Jaleel were serious and sought his resignation and asked the government to step down.

"The chief minister should understand that it's not right for someone who can be influential to remain in power while the investigation is on. The allegations he (Jaleel) is facing are quite serious. All his phone calls details show he had regular contact with the gold smuggling accused," Surendran said at a press conference.

Minister appears before NIA

Visuals aired by Manorama News showed the Minister, who is facing the Enforcement Directorate probe into alleged FCRA violation in accepting consignments of Holy Quran from UAE through diplomatic channel, arriving at the NIA office here at 6 am in a private car.

There was no official word either from the NIA or from the Minister's office about the development.

Last week, Jaleel had appeared before the ED here and his statement was recorded.

The minister had earlier admitted that a consignment containing Holy Quran had been received from the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram which a top Customs official had referred to as "prima facie violation of FCRA" (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act).

After the media reported about his interrogation by the ED, the minister had posted on Facebook: "Truth will prevail. Only the truth. Even if the whole world opposes it, nothing else will happen."

Officials had said Jaleel is under the scanner of the central agencies after he publicly claimed that the consignments brought to Thiruvananthapuram during Ramzan month contained Holy Quran for distribution in his constituency.

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