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Houseboat of Nobel Laureate Blocked By Activists in Kerala Backwaters Amid Trade Union Strike

File photo of Nobel chemistry laureate Michael Levitt (Image: Reuters)

File photo of Nobel chemistry laureate Michael Levitt (Image: Reuters)

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

Alappuzha: A houseboat with Nobel laureate Michael Levitt in the backwaters here was blocked for some time by trade union activists who were 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 protesters near Kainakary here.

"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 driver called us back and told us the issue was solved and that they have left," said a police officer.

The driver claimed the protesters blocked the boat for around two hours. The police have recorded the driver's statement and registered a case.

After the boat was allowed to pass, Levitt continued the trip and is scheduled to return to Kumarakom in Kottayam on Thursday.

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, called 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 PTI inputs