26 April, 2017
Opposition leaders attacked Mani, with two leaders of the BJP and the Congress demanding his resignation. Mani was also unsparing in his criticism of IAS officer Sreeram Venkitaraman, who is involved in removing encroachments in Idukki, Mani's home district.
"In Idukki, most of the religious establishments are located on lands that do not have a clear title deed. Let them sit there as they have been placed there by vested interests", asserted Mani, who addressing a public meeting in Idukki on Saturday, said he knew what all went on during the strike by "Pembulai Orumae" (Women's Collective). Manorama reports that the police attempted to arrest and make Augustine leave the site of the protest, which led to an altercation between protestors and the police. I kindly request them to telecast it so that everyone can know the truth. "When the strike was on, other activities were taking place in nearby forests", he had said.
Angered by Mani's remarks, women plantation workers' leader Gomathy said they had launched a protest in Munnar town from Sunday afternoon. What does he know about us?
The Minister also said that the news about Pembilai Orumai's protest was false.
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The suspect, identified as Rakhmat Akilov, was detained a few hours after the attack on Friday and arrested on Saturday morning. The 39-year-old Uzbek citizen is an illegal immigrant that applied for residence in 2014, which was rejected in June 2016.
Opposition parties have been calling for his resignation over comments Mani has made on Pembilai Orumai - a group of women plantation workers in Munnar, Kerala.
Congress leader Lathika Subhash said Mani had brought shame on Kerala.
Responding to the opposition's call that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan should visit Mahija, Mani said the opposition need not turn up with suggestions to this government. Women's commission member Prameela Devi, who visited the hill station of Munnar where the estate workers are holding the agitation, said the commission registered a case against Mani. Kerala Industries Minister Jayarajan had resigned in October previous year over charges of nepotism while state Transport Minister AK Saseendran quit his post late last month after an audio clip of him purportedly asking for sexual favours from a woman was played on a newly launched TV channel.