The V4 Kochi leader was arrested in connection with the unauthorised opening of the yet-to-be-opened Vytilla flyover.
Tension prevailed in front of Maradu police station for while on Thursday morning after minor skirmishes broke out between activists of V4 Kochi, the recently launched apolitical outfit, and the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI).
However, the police intervened and separated the two sides.
V4 Kochi had staged a protest march to the station over the arrest of four of their activists, including its campaign controller Nipun Cherian, from their homes late on Wednesday night in connection with the unauthorised opening of the yet-to-be-opened Vytilla flyover earlier in the evening, sparking all-round confusion and traffic block. Police had to intervene and send back the motorists the same way without allowing them to exit through the other end.
Shortly thereafter, DYFI activists also staged a march to the station hailing the State government for the completion of the flyover leading to tension between the two sides. The march was organised by the Maradu and Nettoor units of DYFI.
“The needless provocation on the part of DYFI was testimony of the CPI (M) discomfort at the growing popularity of V4 Kochi and its leader Nipun Cherian,” said Shakeer Ali, secretary, V4 Kochi.
However, DYFI alleged the other side of clandestinely intruding into their ranks with ulterior motives. “One of their workers was caught moving among our activists with a camera hidden in his pocket,” said Kiran Raj K. V, president of DYFI Tripunithura block committee.
Meanwhile, Maradu police have charged the arrested V4 Kochi activists with non-bailable offences and is set to produce them before the court.
They have been slapped with various provisions of Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and IPC Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 336 (endangering life or personal safety of others), 447 (criminal trespass), 143 (unlawful assembly) 147 (rioting), and 149 (unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object).
V4 Kochi decried the manner in which Mr. Cherian was arrested, alleging that he dragged out of his home like a terror suspect.
The organisation had been in the forefront of the protest against the perceived delay in opening the flyover to the public despite its completion. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is slated to open the flyover on Saturday.