Kerala: Violence marks BJP's hartal

About 40 incidents of clashes were reported across the state during the day

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Widespread blocking of vehicles and violence marked the dawn-to-dusk hartal by BJP on Thursday. Public transportation was totally disrupted and shops and commercial establishments remained closed. Government offices recorded thin attendance in the day. Protest marches by BJP workers in various parts of the state led to tension. About 40 incidents of clashes were reported to the police across the state during the day. Journalists were also attacked in some parts of the state.

In Thiruvananthaprum, three persons suffered injuries in a clash between DYFI-SDPI workers at Kunjal-amoodu and nine others injured in clashes between RSS and DYFI workers at Sreevaraham. An ambulance of DYFI was also damaged. An Ayurveda doctor, identified as Sasikumar, was injured in attack by hartal supporters on vehicles at Karunagapally during the early hours of Thursday.

Though KSRTC operated some services in Kollam in the morning, the services were stopped after stones were pelted at a bus at Sadanandapuram. In Kottayam, CPM activists pelted stones at BJP district committee office. Two CPM activists, identified as Sooraj and Vinod, were attacked by a gang of BJP activists at Padanilam. Water transport services in Alappuzha were affected by the stir. The district also witnessed isolated incidents of tensions. Attempts by hartal supporters to forcibly shut shops and banks also ended in violence in many parts of the state. In Thiruvananthapuram, some ATM counters attached to banks were forcibly shut.

Hartal supporters forcing the closure of shops at Pattimattom in Kochi led to minor scuffles before police intervened to restore order. Thrissur district witnessed tensions after a dome (martyrs memorial) made by CPM workers for the Azhikodan Day functions was pulled down by unknown persons at Chettiyangad. BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan claimed in a statement that the people of the state had made the hartal a success by cooperating with it. He also said that it was a warning to the violent politics promoted by CPM and the party should initiate in putting an end to the murder politics.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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