Kochi: The 12-hour hartal called by the BJP in Ernakulam district to protest the police lathi charge against party workers at Tripunithara affected life partially in the district as public transport facilities remained off roads. Most business establishments and shops also remained closed as BJP workers were seen forcing the closure of shops that remained opened in the city.
Private vehicles including some autorikshaws and taxis operated in the city. Most government and private offices reported a sharp fall in attendance as people were unable to reach their offices due to lack of transport facilities. Attendance at the District Collectorate in Kakkanad was down by nearly 70 per cent as no bus services were available.
In Infopark, the hub of IT industries in Kochi, all offices functioned with reduced staff. “Nearly 50-60 per cent of the staff attended offices, but, other stayed away because of paranoia”, said Rishikesh Nair CEO of the Infopark.
At Cochin airport, all flights operated normally though there was a slight fall in the number of departing passengers because of the strike. Works on the Kochi Metro rail remained unaffected. Earlier in the morning, activists of the Hindu Aiyavedi took out a march from the Ernakulam Town hall demanding action against the culprit police officers.
The BJP called for the hartal as part of the protests mounted by it and the ABVP in connection with the suicide attempt by a dalit girl student of RLV College in Tripunithura. The BJP and ABVP leaderships allege that the police have failed to take action against SFI activists involved in the incident. According to the ABVP, the girl a former activist of SFI, joined the ABVP after which SFI activists launched a slander campaign including graffiti in the campus against her....