Ban On All Protests In Kerala Extended Till Aug 31

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Monday extended its ban, till August 31, on protests of any kind in the state.

The court had, on July 15, ruled that there should be no protests or demonstrations in the state till July 31, as these would violate the Covid-19 guidelines of the Centre.

On Monday, the court said that they are unable to intervene in the Covid protocols of the Centre.

The bench had given the direction based on two petitions seeking action against political parties violating the Covid guidelines. It directed the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police to ensure that there was no violation of this order, and to hold responsible any political parties who do so.

Following the July 15 order, despite the controversial gold smuggling case, where the Pinarayi Vijayan government is in the dock, both the Congress-led UDF and the BJP have now turned towards virtual protests, with their leaders sitting at various places to take forward their demands for Vijayan’s resignation.

The gold smuggling case first surfaced when P.S. Sarith, a former employee of the UAE Consulate here, was arrested by the Customs on July 5 when he was facilitating smuggling of 30kg gold in diplomatic baggage to Thiruvananthapuram from Dubai.

The case turned murkier when the name of Swapna Suresh, a former employee of the consulate, and employed with the IT Department, surfaced and it turned a full circle when the accused’s links with M. Sivasankar, a senior IAS officer who held the dual post of Secretary to the Chief Minister and the state IT Secretary.
Sivasankar was subsequently removed from the posts and then suspended from service. He has been questioned several times by the National Investigation Agency which is probing the case.

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