Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan reaches Mangalore amid Sangh protests

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

Kozhikode, Feb 25: Amid protests from Sangh Parivar outfits, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is expected to visit Mangaluru on Saturday to attend the ‘Harmony Rally’ which is scheduled to be held between 2.30 pm and 6 pm. Reportedly, the Sangh Parivar outfits have called for a hartal against the Chief Minister’s visit in the wake of which, Section 144 was imposed in Mangalore Commissionerate limits from 6 pm of February 24 to 6 am of February 26 to restrict bandh, hartal and any other procession.

Confirming his visit to Mangaluru amid protests by Sangh Parivar ouftits against him, Pinarayi on Friday had said “I am going there anyway. I saw some statements of BJP leaders. I will respond after my return from Mangaluru”. Sangh Parivar had opposed his visit alleging that Vijayan had been encouraging political violence against Sangh Parivar activists in Kannur and in other parts of Kerala.

Vijayan is supposed to attend a peace rally for communal harmony in the district. However, Hindu nationalist associations, including Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), are opposed to hs visit. They are alleging that the CM is involved in political violence against Sangh Parivar activists in his home turf, Kannur.

RSS spokesperson Rajesh Padmar was unavailable for comment.

Jagadish Shenava, district president of VHP and Hindu Jagarana Vedike, said in a press statement that they were “anguished over the participation of Vijayan in the convention and were not against the event per se,” reported The Hindu on Friday.

In December, Vijayan was forced to abandon a felicitation programme in Bhopal after security threats over RSS protests.

In January, he was again forced to cut short a trip to Delhi over intelligence reports, which said that a RSS protest march to where he was staying could turn violent.

This time, however, Vijayan is firm on going ahead of the visit, said CPM Karnataka secretary G. V. Srirama Reddy.

“I’ve spoke to him, he is firm on coming. We also met (Karnataka) with chief minister Siddharamaiah. He has assured all help on the law and order front,” said Reddy

Security tightened

Security has been beefed up in the city and District Police limits since Friday and regular patrolling is being conducted in the city. Police personnel have also been posted in sensitive areas in huge number.

About 2,000 police will be deployed in the Commissionerate limits and 1,500 in the district limits through the weekend.

Meanwhile, the police was quoted as saying in a Livemint report that notices had been issued to 44 persons who have called the bandh as per section 107 of IPC (Abetment of an illegal act engaging others) since Supreme Court had given clear directives that none can organize a bandh.

While the police have tightened security in the area ahead of his visit, the office of Vijayan’s Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPM, was set on fire by unidentified persons in Mangalore’s Thokkottu on Thursday.