The Kozhikode Corporation Council meeting on Tuesday turned into a series of dramatic events as the United Democratic Front (UDF) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) started a protest in the council hall, demanding the suspension of Corporation Secretary K.U. Bini to aid a fair investigation into the Sanchaya scam.
Mayor Beena Philip denied permission for an adjournment motion proposed by UDF parliamentary party leader K.C. Shobhita on the issue. The Mayor said there was no evidence against the Secretary, and the UDF’s allegations and demands were purely based on suspicion and hence could not be heeded. She also offered support to the Secretary, who, she claimed, had done everything in her power at the right time.
Amid the Mayor’s clarification, the UDF and BJP councillors assembled before the Mayor’s dais holding placards and banners and raising slogans. The BJP demanded an end to the “parallel Corporation administration”, in which, allegedly, middlemen and a few employees played a key role.
BJP councillor T. Rinish being restricted by the police during the protest in Kozhikode Corporation office on Tuesday. | Photo Credit: K. Ragesh
However, the Mayor wound up the council meeting quickly, passing all items on the agenda in a minute, which irked the protesting councillors further. They tried to snatch the agenda from the Mayor’s hands, and she was protected by Left Democratic Front (LDF) councillors. As matters started taking a violent turn, LDF councillors started raising counter-slogans, which led to a minor scuffle between LDF and UDF councillors. The LDF alleged that a UDF-BJP nexus was trying to sabotage the investigation into the scam.
Meanwhile, UDF and BJP councillors started protesting inside the Mayor’s chamber, while LDF councillors formed a barricade protecting the Mayor and Deputy Mayor as they entered the chamber.
The police removed a few Indian Union Muslim League workers from the spot for allegedly instigating violence. The protestors destroyed the nameplates of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor in front of their chambers as well as some microphones in the council hall.
The protestors staged a sit-in in front of the Mayor’s chamber while the Mayor was escorted out with the help of the police. The sit-in moved to the Secretary’s chamber later. The UDF claimed that it was just a “token protest”, and that a “mega protest” would be held on June 30 at the Corporation office’s lobby.
BJP District President V.K. Sajeevan flayed the Corporation’s attempt to frame BJP councillors in fake cases for protesting against the corruption in the civic body. The party is observing Wednesday as a protest day and will conduct a march to the Corporation office at 10 a.m.
Meanwhile, a few representatives of the anti-sewage treatment plant protest committee from Avikkal Thodu were blocked by the police outside the Corporation office gate, where they held a meeting, claiming that theirs was a fight for survival. They denounced the Mayor’s recent comment in an interview that they were against development, and that they were an ignorant lot. The construction of the STP has begun at Avikkal Thodu under heavy police protection. The Corporation office too was under police protection with the recent protests against the STP turning violent.