Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has dismissed the weapons seized by the police from Maharaja's College, Kochi as “material used for construction work”.

Kerala Assembly witnessed a war of words between members of the ruling LDF and opposition UDF on Friday over the seizure of weapons. 

Congress members alleged that the Maharaja's College, a known bastion of the ruling CPM's student wing SFI, has become the 'storeroom of arms'. Countering it, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan denied unearthing of weapons from the staff quarters of the college and accused opposition of attempting to tarnish the glorious institution. 

The police on Thursday reportedly found weapons from a room in the college staff quarters which was assigned to six students after the hostel was closed for renovation. Acting on a complaint from the principal, the police seized 14 iron bars, four wooden batons and a long knife from the room.

However, the CM said no bombs or swords were seized and the police only found some construction materials such as iron bars, wooden planks, a knife and a ladder.

The opposition later staged a walkout as Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan rejected their demand for an adjournment motion over the issue. 

Earlier, moving the notice for the motion, Congress leader PT Thomas said several weapons, including swords and iron rods, had been seized and this should be viewed seriously by the government. 

"The institution was an alma mater of several great persons. Now, it has become an abode of anti-social elements," he charged. Not just in Maharaja's College, but SFI and ABVP activists were causing anarchy in many other campuses in the state, he alleged. 

However, Pinarayi said the opposition was trying to create a smokescreen over the issue and there was no need to discuss it in the Assembly. "The government's attempt is to transform the state campuses as centres of excellence. Not as the abodes of anti-social elements," the CM said. 

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said the Chief Minister was justifying those who were causing 'anarchy' in campuses. Any attempt to destroy the peaceful atmosphere in colleges would not be accepted, he added.

(with agency inputs)