Opposition seeks Sivankutty's removal. Boycotts Assembly for second day in a row

The Opposition boycotted Assembly proceedings for the second consecutive day in protest against the Chief Minister's refusal to remove V Sivakutty as general education minister. Sivankutty, along with four other former LDF legislators, have been asked to stand trial for vandalism in the Assembly.

Opposition Leader V D Satheesan said the UDF would take the agitation demanding Sivankutty's resignation outside the Assembly. He, however, said whether to continue the Assembly boycott till Sivankutty was removed would be decided later.

Satheesan said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had misled the House on July 29. While arguing that events inside the Assembly including violence should enjoy immunity from legal action, Pinarayi had said that never before had cases been taken against legislators in any part of the country for even violent acts like slapping other members and throwing projectiles at the Speaker. "Kerala had set a new precedent," Pinarayi had said on Thursday.

Satheesan contested this in the Assembly on Friday. He said Kerala Assembly itself had given approval to initiate cases against five Left legislators in 1970 for attacking then speaker (D Damodaran Potti) and unleashing violence inside the Assembly.

The incident happened on January 29, 1970. "It was in Kerala Assembly that a Speaker was assaulted for the first time in Indian history, " Satheesan said. After the Speaker stopped the proceedings and left the House, a scuffle broke out inside the Assembly. "A police circle inspector to came in to check the violence was manhandled by the legislators," Satheesan said. The Speaker had then granted permission to the CI to move the Court against the MLAs, Satheesan said.

Further, the Opposition Leader said that a Maharashtra legislator was sentenced to six months in jail for snatching the mike of the Speaker.

Satheesan also argued that all the ministers who had resigned in Kerala's history had done for relatively lesser infringements than Sivankutty's. He said none of them, except R Balakrishnapillai, were punished by any courts.

He took the example of Thomas Chandy who had resigned during the last LDF tenure. "In his case, the High Court had turned down his plea that the district collector's report on his encroachment should be rejected. That was all, " he said.

Satheesan said former finance minister K M Mani resigned though only an FIR was registered against him. He said former ministers like K K Ramachandran, K P Vishwanathan, T U Kuruvila, K T Jaleel for oblique references by the Court. Former Chief Minister K Karunakaran, too.

The Opposition Leader also ridiculed the Chief Minister's argument that Sivankutty was not mentioned in name by the Supreme Court. "Asking an accused to stand trial is far more damning than a mere mention, " Satheesan said.

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