Youth outfits of Congress, BJP and IUML clashed with the police in many places in Kerala today during their state-wide protest marches demanding Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's resignation in the gold smuggling case.
The police used water cannons and lathicharged the activists to disperse them.
No social distancing or other protocols amid coronavirus pandemic were followed by the protesters. Over 6,500 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the state so far and the numbers are going up each day.
Over 50 Youth Congress activists marched to Mr Vijayan's house at Pinarayi in Kannur and tried to climb over the barricades, and the police used water cannons to disperse them.
In Kozhikode, 14 Youth League activists were injured when police resorted to lathicharge to disperse them after they pelted stones on being prevented from marching to the Collectorate.
A few journalists were also injured in the clashes.
In Kollam and Alappuzha too, the marches turned violent.
Customs had seized over 30 kg of gold from a baggage, carrying the name of a diplomatic person that had landed by air cargo at the International airport here on Sunday. The case had taken political overtones after it was found that a woman suspect had been working for the state IT department, a portfolio held by the Chief Minister. She was later sacked.
A former employee of a foreign consulate has been arrested, while an ex woman employee, who is missing, has moved the Kerala High Court for anticipatory bail.
Continuing to keep up the heat against the government, Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala, State Congress Chief Mullappally Ramachandran and former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy held a joint press meet and reiterated their demand for a CBI probe into the case, in which the Centre has already announced an NIA investigation.
"The Chief Minister should convene an emergency cabinet meeting as soon as possible and recommend a CBI probe in the matter," the KPCC president said.
Pointing out that the case had international ramifications, he said the Chief Minister''s Office should also be brought under the probe's purview. "Where is the controversial woman? The state government should explain. The whole city is under lockdown. But this woman has fled. She has contacts with all higher officials", he alleged.
Mr Chennithala said the protests would end only after Mr Vijayan's resignation. While welcoming the NIA probe, Mr Chennithala said the case should also be investigated by the CBI and the RAW as the NIA cannot probe the corruption angle.
"The BJP is trying to save the Left government and the chief minister," he alleged.
As the opposition Congress and BJP targeted the CMO over the alleged links of senior IAS officer M Sivasankar with the woman, whose name figured in the smuggling case, the senior bureaucrat was removed as Mr Vijayan's secretary and the State IT Secretary.