Houseboat of Nobel Laureate, wife blocked by protesters in Alappuzha
Alappuzha: A houseboat carrying Nobel laureate Michael Levitt in the backwaters here was blocked for sometime by trade union activists who are on a nationwide strike against the Centre's "anti-labour" policies on Wednesday.
Police said Levitt, who received the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, was in Alappuzha with his wife and was stopped by the protesters near Kainakary here.
Michael Levitt was in Kerala as a guest of the state government. The Nobel laureate was scheduled to deliver a speech at a function at Kerala University.
"We received a call from the boat driver saying the protesters were not allowing to take the boat for the ride. When we were about to leave for the place, the boat driver called us back and told us that the issue was solved and they have left," a police officer told PTI.
However, the officer said a team will visit the houseboat and enquire about the incident and seek details from the driver. The driver, on the other hand, claimed that the protesters blocked the boat for around two hours.
It is learned that the protesters blocked around seven houseboats. They came to R block around 11. am. The houseboat belonging to Lake View Resorts left Kumarakom on Tuesday night.
Reacting to the incident, State Tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran said: "We will take strong action against those anti-social elements who blocked the boat. Levitt was here as a state government guest. We will also look into whether there were any lapses in providing security to him."
Trade union leaders had earlier clarified that the strike will not affect the tourism industry.
Ten trade unions, including INTUC, AITUC, and CITU have called for the nationwide strike to protest against labour reforms, FDI, disinvestment, corporatisation and privatisation policies and to press for a 12-point common demands of the working class relating to minimum wage among others.
(With inputs from PTI)