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Nobel Prize houseboat, wife blocked by protesters in the backs of Kerala News – India


ALAPPUZHA: Nobel Prize maker Michael Levitt was locked in backrooms here for some time by union activists, who were on a national strike against the Center’s “anti-labor” policies on Wednesday.

Levitt, an American-British-Israeli biophysicist and professor of structural biology at Stanford University in the United States, said the incident sent a bad message to tourists.

Levitt, who was in Kerala as a state guest, also said he felt a bandit had arrested his wife and him at gunpoint.

Police said Levitt, who received the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, was in Alappuzha with his wife and were arrested by protesters near Kainakary.

“Being stopped by criminals in the backs sends a very bad message to tourists. It’s as if a bandit is stopping us at gunpoint and delaying us under the threat of force for an hour,” Levitt wrote in an email to his touring agent in Kottayam.

In the email, which was later released to the media, he also said that the person who blocked them “ignored all arguments that tourists were exempt” from the strike.

“This person, who did this, ignored all the arguments that tourists were exempt and that I am a VIP guest of the Kerala government. He was obviously acting, knowing he was safe from prosecution. Unfortunately, this makes me fear that India will sink into anarchy,” Levitt wrote in the email.

Police filed a case after the owners of the houseboat filed a complaint about it.

In reacting to the incident, state tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran said the government would take strong action.

“Strong action will be taken against those anti-social elements that stopped the ship. Levitt was here as a guest of the state government. The government had made it clear that the tourism industry was exempt from the strike,” he said.

Union leaders had also announced that the strike would not affect the tourism industry.

Ten trade unions, including INTUC, AITUC and CITU, had called for a national strike to protest labour reforms, FDI, divestment, corporation and privatization policies of the Centre and push for a 12-point demand, related to the minimum wage, among others.

Times of India