Noble Laureate Michael Levitt who won the top accolade in Chemistry in 2013 was virtually held hostage along with his wife by Kerala’s trade union members during their Bharat Bandh on Wednesday (8 January), media reports have claimed.
The strike in the state was spearheaded by leftist trade unions like INTUC, AITUC and CITU to protest against the alleged “anti-labour” policies of the central government.
Levitt who is currently the professor of structural biology at the Stanford University in the US, was on a holiday in Kerala’s Alappuzha and was stopped by the trade unionists near Kainakary.
Levitt later recounted the incident by claiming that the whole experience was like being held on gunpoint by a bandit, “being stopped by criminals on the backwaters sends a very bad message to tourists. It is as if a bandit stopped us at gunpoint and delayed us under the threat of force for one hour”.
He added that despite tourists being exempted from the strike, the protesters refused to pay heed to the fact that Levitt was a state guest of the Kerala government. He claimed that the lead protester was acting in a manner which suggested that he knew there would be no consequences for his actions.