The Kerala state committee of the Students Federation of India (SFI) on Sunday decided to dissolve its Wayanad district committee in connection with the vandalism of Congress MP Rahul Gandhi’s office there allegedly by some of its activists. In a Facebook post, the state committee said that in a meeting held in Thrissur during the day a decision was taken to dissolve the Wayanad district committee and form a seven-member ad-hoc committee as an interim measure.
The Facebook post further said the action was taken as the Wayanad district committee on June 24 organised a march to the Congress MP’s office without knowledge of the state committee and the protest had turned aggressive in a manner which brought shame upon the entire organisation before the public. Eldos Mathai, presently the district joint secretary of SFI, would be the convener of the seven member ad-hoc committee, the post said.
The vandalism of Gandhi’s office had led to Congress organising a massive rally at Kalpetta in Wayanad district and a Youth Congress protest in Kottayam had allegedly turned violent. Hours after SFI activists had allegedly indulged in the vandalism on June 24, the Left government had ordered a high-level probe by an ADGP-rank officer and suspended the Kalpetta Deputy Superintendent of Police.
The CPI(M) as well as Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had also condemned the vandalism. However, the issue had led to the assembly session of June 27 being disrupted by the Congress-led UDF opposition as some of its members wearing black shirts had raised placards, banners and shouted slogans in the House demanding action in the matter.
On the next day, the opposition’s adjournment motion in connection with the vandalism was discussed in detail in the House and then rejected by the assembly. The SFI activists had held a protest march to Gandhi’s office and had allegedly vandalised his office claiming inaction on his behalf in connection with the issue of buffer zones around forests.
A recent Supreme Court order mandates the maintenance of an eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of one kilometre around national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, which has led to widespread protest in various parts of Kerala. The high-range areas of Kerala, particularly in Idukki, Wayanad, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta districts, had been witnessing hartals by various political and farmers’ groups against the apex court order delivered on June 3.