In an unsettling turn of events on January 4, a physical confrontation unfolded in Thrissur between Youth Congress and BJP workers near the venue where Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the two-lakh-strong Mahila Samgamam on January 3. The clash erupted when Youth Congress members attempted to symbolically purify the area by sprinkling liquid cow dung at the dais, asserting that Prime Minister Modi had “desecrated” it with his presence.
The altercation unfolded as BJP and Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) workers resisted the Youth Congress workers’ unconventional act. The Youth Congress members arrived with cow dung when a group of BJP workers and labourers were dismantling the dais and temporary tents. Despite a police presence between the two groups, there was no apparent effort to dissuade the Youth Congress members from their provocative actions.
As tensions escalated, Youth Congress men attacked BJP and BJYM workers with wooden pieces. Notably, reports indicate that the police used force against the BJP workers, further intensifying the situation.
The root of the conflict lay in the Youth Congress workers’ attempt to symbolically purify the space after the Prime Minister’s address. The act was met with resistance from BJP workers, who opposed the provocative gesture. Despite the police presence, the situation spiralled into a physical clash between the two groups.
The incident highlighted the charged atmosphere surrounding political events and the deep-seated animosity between the Youth Congress and BJP in the region. The police’s response, or lack thereof, in preventing the provocative act by Youth Congress workers raised eyebrows, and the subsequent use of force against BJP workers added fuel to the already tense situation.
The resistance, led by BJP Thrissur district president Adv. K.K. Aneeshkumar, unfolded during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address at the Mahila Samgamam on January 3.
Aneeshkumar asserted that the entire episode was a result of a conspiracy involving the police, UDF, and LDF. He claimed that sympathisers of the outlawed Popular Front of India (PFI) were present in the police force and were collaborating with both UDF and LDF. Aneeshkumar accused the police of aiding Youth Congress workers in encroaching into the venue where the Prime Minister’s programme took place and alleged that the police facilitated the conflict despite having prior information.
The BJP leader also implicated Congress leader TN Pratapan MP (Thrissur) in the incident, alleging his involvement in the entire drama due to concerns about winning the upcoming Thrissur parliamentary election.
Aneeshkumar went on to claim that the Youth Congress’s cow dung agitation was aimed at insulting the Prime Minister based on his caste. He pointed out that the sprinkling of cow dung was a symbolic act of purification during the dark period of caste-based oppression and untouchability. Given that the Prime Minister’s programme was focused on a ladies’ conclave, Aneeshkumar deemed the Youth Congress’s attempt as an insult to women.
State BJP President K Surendran joined the accusations, alleging that Congress harbours a caste mindset. Surendran emphasised that Narendra Modi, belonging to a low-caste community and being the son of a tea seller, faces resistance from Congress due to their unwillingness to accept such a personality as the Prime Minister. He recalled instances of disrespect towards the Vice President and President of India and accused Congress leader Rahul Gandhi of encouraging the recording and spreading of such incidents on social media.
Surendran praised the Mahila Samgamam addressed by the Prime Minister as a grand success, highlighting the political neutrality of many attendees. Taking the opportunity, he alleged that individuals associated with CPM-led cooperative banks were compelled to attend the Pinarayi government’s Nava Kerala Sadas. Additionally, Surendran accused T.N. Pratapan MP of collaborating with former activists of PFI, emphasising that Congress and CPM’s repeated insults towards the Prime Minister would no longer be tolerated.
The clash served as a stark illustration of the heightened political tensions in Thrissur, as ideological differences spilled over into physical altercations during a significant public event attended by the Prime Minister.