Thiruvananthapuram: Police clashed with protesting members of the Congress party-affiliated Kerala Students Union (KSU) in front of the state secretariat building with police using water cannons, tear gas and smoke grenades.
Dozens of protesters, journalists as well as police personnel were injured.
The pitched battle between police and protesters in the state capital erupted on the eighth day of a protest fast by KSU leaders, who are demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the stabbing incident at the University College here on July 12 — and the subsequent recovery of University of Kerala answer sheets.
The protesters were further provoked by news that the accused in the stabbing incident had come out with flying colours in the public service commission (PSC) examination for the Kerala Police Constable selections.
Trouble between police and protesters began soon after the inauguration of the protest on Monday morning by Youth Congress president and Lok Sabha member Dean Kuriakose.
Things went out of hand when two smoke grenades landed at the protest venue and four KSU leaders, who were on an indefinite fast for the past eight days, were left gasping for breath and had to be taken to hospital.
Following the pitched battle, about a dozen protesters, besides police officials and mediapersons were also admitted to hospital for treatment of injuries.
Kuriakose later said the Youth Congress has decided to take over the protest and will not relent until the Kerala government takes cognisance of their demands.
Local Congress legislator V.S. Sivakumar also told the media that the protesters will not relent until a CBI probe into the incident is announced.
Meanwhile, amid unprecedented security the University College reopened on Monday for the first time after July 12 stabbing of B.A. final year student Akhil allegedly by activists of the CPI-M affiliated Student Federation of India (SFI).
This college, which is located near the state secretariat, has, for long, been an SFI bastion.
The police have, so far, arrested five of the accused in the stabbing incident, while three others are still at large. Both the prime accused in the case — Shivaranjith and Nazeem — are office bearers of the SFI unit in the college.
Following the huge public outcry after the stabbing, the SFI unit committee of the college was disbanded and a new ad hoc committee, which includes the victim Akhil, has been formed.
Kerala Governor P. Sathasivam has expressed his deep concern at the turn of events in the college and had summoned both the Kerala University Vice-Chancellor and the PSC Chairman to get their views on the situation.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, however, reacted on Sunday by saying he is unaware about the reasons for the KSU protests.