The Congress-headed UDF opposition on Thursday walked out of the Kerala Assembly after crossing swords with the ruling CPM-led LDF over the law and order situation in the state.

The House witnessed a heated exchange of words between the rival fronts during the zero hour when the opposition sought a notice for an adjournment motion alleging a rise in crime and deteriorating law and order situation. The opposition also claimed that Kerala had become a "paradise" for criminals, and the police force was "inactive" because it had been "politicised" by the ruling CPM.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, however, denied the opposition charges and quoted figures to stress that there was no room for concern about the law and order situation in Kerala, which he said was far ahead of others when it came to security for women. He also accused the opposition of making general assumptions about the law and order situation by pinpointing isolated incidents of crime.

"After this government came to power, all types of crimes could be reduced through stringent and impartial measures," Pinarayi said. The number of murder cases was an important indicator of the law order situation, he added. "The total number of murder cases registered in the state was 368 in 2012, 355 (2013), 342 (2014) and 317 in 2015. It was reduced to 302 in 2017," the CM said.

Citing 2016 figures of the Crime Records Bureau, the Chief Minister said Kerala was the state from where the least number of caste and communal clashes had been reported. "The number of communal clashes reported was 37 in 2012, 53 in 2013, 16 (2014), 8 (2015) and 9 in 2016... It could be reduced to 6 in 2017," Pinarayi added.

(With PTI inputs)