Activists stop houseboat with Nobel laureate in Kerala

Activists stop houseboat with Nobel laureate in Kerala

Trade union workers take out a march during their nationwide 24-hour general strike, in Thiruvananthapuram. (PTI photo)

Nobel laureate Michael Levitt was stranded in a houseboat at Alappuzha district in South Kerala owing to the general strike by trade unions on Wednesday.

The incident happened despite assurance from trade union leaders that the tourism sector would be exempted from the strike, apart from some other key sectors.

A winner of Nobel prize in Chemistry in 2013, Mr. Michael reached Kerala as a state guest. He, accompanied by wife, started the overnight houseboat trip from Kumarakom in Kottayam district on Tuesday evening.

The houseboat was anchored on the lake at Alappuzha during the night and when it was about to resume journey on Wednesday morning some trade union activist stopped it citing the general strike. Two other houseboats were also stopped by the activists. The houseboats were allowed to proceed only after an hour. 

Local sources said that Levitt refused to lodge a police complaint, but conveyed to the tour operators that the incident was very unfortunate.

The Pulinkunnu police in Alappuzha district registered a case against four persons in this connection based on the statement of the boat operators.

Kerala tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran reacted that stringent action would be taken against those who stopped the houseboat.

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