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Wednesday, 1 May, 2002, 12:34 GMT 13:34 UK
ADB faces leftist rage in Kerala
Kerala trade unionist marching during a strike
Kerala is considered a leftist stronghold
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By Venkitesh Ramakrishnan
BBC reporter in Kochi

Left wing activists went on a wild attack in the southern Indian state of Kerala damaging the central office of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in the state capital Trivandrum.

The state of Kerala

The attack was carried out on Tuesday by Porattam - a group considered close to the left-wing Maoist Communist Centre.

The action followed a state government decision to accept "stringent" conditions set by the ADB for a loan.

The group says the loan conditions will destroy Kerala's economy which is on the verge of bankruptcy.


About 10 activists of Porattam entered the ADB office posing as visitors.

As soon as they were in, the activists threatened staff members saying they were carrying bombs.

Chief Minister AK Antony
The government is fighting a financial crisis

The group then rampaged through the office damaging computers and destroying files. Some activists also threw used engine oil over work stations.

Office walls were sprayed with graffiti saying Kerala was being turned into another Argentina and asking the ADB to quit India.

The attack went on for half-an-hour before the police could reach the seventh floor office.

Financial crisis

The ADB loan is crucial for Kerala which is on the brink of bankruptcy.

Two months ago the government exceeded its overdraft limit and said it might default on its loan repayments.

Nearly 500,000 state workers went on a month-long strike when the state government tried to introduce austerity measures.

Several left-wing groups in the state have opposed loans and credits from international financial institutions.

Porattam, one of these groups, says international loans compromise the state's economic sovereignty.

The group has carried out similar attacks in the past.

See also:

12 Feb 02 | South Asia
Arrests in Kerala as strike continues
06 Feb 02 | South Asia
Staff strike hits Kerala
04 Jan 02 | Business
Chaos strikes India's banks
03 Jan 02 | Business
India bank workers pledge to strike
10 Dec 01 | South Asia
Communal tension high in Kerala
21 Aug 01 | South Asia
Kerala bans pesticide spray
30 Jul 01 | South Asia
Coloured rain falls on Kerala
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