Kochi (Kerala) [India], September 17 (ANI): Several Congress workers were detained as they staged massive protests outside the office of National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Kochi on Thursday, demanding State Higher Education Minister KT Jaleel's resignation.
Also, the police used water cannons, tear gas in the morning today to disperse the Congress and BJP workers protesting outside the State Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram demanding the same.
In Palakkad, the police baton-charged many Congress workers. Several Congress leaders including MLA VT Balram were injured.
VT Balram said, "If Pinarayi Vijayan's police think that the protests can be crushed using iron hand it will not succeed. The Chief Minister is protecting Minister KT Jaleel."
Yuva Morcha, Mahila Morcha, Youth Congress and Mahila Congress are at the forefront of the protests led by BJP and Congress. Large scale participation of women in these protests was witnessed across the state.
In Thiruvananthapuram, BJP carried a protest to the secretariat and as the workers tried to barge into the police barricade, the police used water cannons to disperse the workers. In Kollam and Kottayam the KSU protests turned violent and police used water cannons and teargas shells.
The scene was no different in other parts of the state, in Kozhikode Yuva Morcha protest turned violent and police arrested and removed the protestors.
In Kochi, Youth Congress staged a march to Kochi NIA office where KT Jaleel appeared for interrogation. Similar, protests were witnessed in other parts of the state including Alappuzha, Malappuram and Wayanad.
Both BJP and Congress leadership made it clear that they would intensify the protest till Jaleel resigns. Meanwhile, CPI(M) and CPI leadership ruled out resignation of the minister and said that there is no situation for Jaleel to resign.
Jaleel on Wednesday visited the office of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), in connection with the Kerala gold smuggling case, days after he was quizzed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
On Tuesday, the ED had said that Jaleel has not given any "satisfactory" statements in the matter.
Several protests were held across the State by the Opposition parties and some other organisations seeking the resignation of the Higher Education Minister.
Notably, Leader of Opposition in Kerala Legislative Assembly Ramesh Chennithala had on September 12 accused Jaleel of violating protocol and received concessions from the Consulate.
The matter, which pertains to the smuggling of gold in the State through diplomatic channels, had come to light after 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crores, smuggled in a consignment camouflaged as diplomatic baggage, was busted by the Customs in Thiruvananthapuram on July 5. (ANI)