Wayanad: 25 SFI workers arrested for attacking Rahul Gandhi’s office

SFI national president V P Sanu on Saturday said that strong action will be taken against those who are involved in the attack.

Following the attack on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s office at Wayanad in Kerala on June 24, 25 workers of the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) were arrested on Saturday.

A member of Kerala Health Minister, Veena George’s personal staff and SFI activist Avishit K R was also involved in the case. The Health Ministry department has confirmed that Avishit has resigned from his post.

Around 19 SFI workers were produced before the court and remanded to judicial custody. Non-bailable charges were invoked against them.

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Meanwhile, speaking to reporters, SFI national president V P Sanu on Saturday said that strong action will be taken against those who are involved in the attack. He said, “The SFI had not decided on this kind of march (to the MPs’ office) and action will be taken after examining the visuals and after following the due procedure of the organisation.”

The SFI is the student wing of CPI(M), the present state government in Kerala.

“This (the Supreme Court order buffer zones) is not an issue which should be turned against an MP. But there is nothing wrong with the thought that Rahul Gandhi, as the leader of the biggest opposition party in the country, should have made a strong response to the issue. Wayanad has the highest number of buffer zones in the country. But we don’t approve of the march turning into this way,” Sanu added.

On Saturday, members of the youth Congress staged a protest against the accused SFI workers outside the CPI(M)’s headquarters in New Delhi.

Activists of Kerala’s ruling CPI-M’s student wing, SFI, vandalised Congress leader and local MP Rahul Gandhi’s office in Wayanad on Friday, and also assaulted a staffer, even as police stood by, the Congress alleged.

“A staff member at Gandhi’s office was beaten up,” said Congress’ Wayanad district President N.D. Appachen.

Congress leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi has dashed off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi drawing his attention to the plight of the local communities of Wayanad in Kerala, whose livelihoods would be adversely affected by the recent Supreme Court order on the maintenance of Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZ) around national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.

“The state and the union governments can help by requesting dilution of a minimum width of an ESZ to the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC). The Supreme Court judgment considers recommendations made by the CEC & the MoEF&CC,” Gandhi wrote on his Facebook wall on Friday and posted a copy of the letter too.

“Local communities, still reeling under the impact of the Covid pandemic, have expressed grave concerns regarding the implications of this judgment on their lives and livelihoods. The Guidelines for Declaration of Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZ) around National Park and Wildlife Sanctuaries dated February 9, 2011 – ESZ Guidelines – as well as the abovementioned judgment, prohibit certain activities in ESZ.

“These guidelines also regulate several activities, including, the change of agriculture systems, protection of hill slopes, and erection of electrical cables. The judgment states that no permanent structure shall be permitted to come up for whatsoever purpose within ESZ. As one of the most densely populated regions in the Western Ghats, such restrictions hamper the ability of local communities to improve their standard of living,” Gandhi’s letter said.

“I request the Union government to address these concerns in the larger public interest and reiterate our shared commitment to balancing conservation goals with our people’s legitimate developmental needs,” the Congress leader said, adding he has written to the Kerala Chief Minister, too.

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