Kozhikode: The dawn-to-dusk hartal called by the social-media groups in protest against the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua, Jammu, turned violent in the northern districts on Monday. In Kasargod, stones were pelted at buses and 10 persons were taken into custody. One KSRTC driver was hurt in stone-pelting. At Vidyanagar, the police lathicharged the crowd that stopped the vehicles. In Kannur, the hartal supporters clashed with the police, when 23 of them were taken into custody for blocking vehicles.
Vehicles were stopped in different parts of Malappuram and Kozhikode also by crowds that converged on the roads in mostly Muslim-populated regions. Though the Indian Union Muslim League dismissed any connection with the hartal, the extremist organisations like Social Democratic Party of India supported it. The special branch police confirmed the involvement of the SDPI in the strike along with other youngsters.
In Kozhikode, some shops, including those in the malls were asked to shut down. In prominent shopping areas like SM Street, some shops were forcibly shut. In places like Tirur, the blocking of vehicles started from Sunday midnight onwards. Top police officials said they were unprepared for the hartal as it was the first of its kind that erupted over social media and not officially declared by any party or organisation.