November 17, 2017   
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Kozhikode (Kerala), Nov 3 (IANS) With protests against laying of GAIL pipelines in parts of Kozhikode and Malappuram districts taking a violent turn, the Kerala government has decided to call an all-party meeting on Monday over the issue.

State Industries Minister A.C. Moideen has asked the Kozhikode district collector U.V. Jose to call a meeting to discuss the issue on Monday.

The protest on Wednesday at Mukkom near here turned violent. In retaliation, the police reportedly barged into homes and arrested several people who they believed were behind the violent protests.

The police are now claiming that those behind the violence and the organisation of the protests had links with extremist groups.

On Friday morning, a delegation of top opposition leaders led by former State Congress president V.M. Sudheeran visited the Mukkam area and met the protesters.

After the meeting, he said that this is a protest seeking proper compensation.

“To quell a protest using force is not the right way for authorities and governments,” said Sudheeran and assured the protesters that all support would be given to them.

A housewife, speaking to the media, expressed shock at the police high-handedness. She said the police even barged into toilets to take away people.

“This has never happened before,” said the woman.

The police action has been roundly criticised on social media too. Several pictures are also doing the rounds of when the CPI-M was against the pipeline when they were in the opposition in 2015.

One of the most vocal proponents of the project now is CPI-M politburo member and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who has been quoted as saying that the police will be forced to act and some will have to suffer to pave the way for development.

Former Defence Minister and Congress leader A.K. Antony said that development should take place but only through consensus and for that the people have to be taken into confidence.

Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala who is currently on a state-wide yatra told the media in Kannur that if the state government does not act sensibly and address the issue, then they will be forced to join hands with the protesters.

The pipeline which begins from Kochi with one line to Mengaluru and another to Tamil Nadu has so far covered a few districts. For the past one month, protests are on in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts, even as the work is going on.