Kochi: A social media-inspired protest against the high price of petroleum products will be observed as black day across the state on Friday. The protest, the first of its kind in the state, will not have any common pattern as the individual protestors are free to choose their mode of action against the escalation of the fuel price in the past few months. The black day is taking place even as Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitlely has made it clear that the Union government was not planning any cut in the tax rates and challenged the CPM and Congress-ruled state governments to forgo the income from the VAT on petrol and diesel.
The protest was inspired by a Facebook collective in the name of Protest against Fuel Price Hike by Common People that gained wide support from a cross section of the people. Aziz Kunnappally, a member of a Muvattupuzha-based Facebook group actively involved in the campaign, said the people will wear black dress and black badges marking the protest. Street corner meetings are also planned in different places, he said. A mass petition addressed to the Supreme Court Chief Justice will also be finalized on the day. According to Thrissur-based Johnson Chungathara, one of the persons behind the movement, there is no centralised leadership or command structure for the call to oppose the high prices.
“The information received by me says that the supporters of the protest in Kottayam are planning to pull a bus while those in Idukki plan for a flash mob. A group in Thrissur plans a bike rally while in some other places, the people will be holding silent marches”. At Moozhikulam junction near Chalakuddy, the supporters of black day plan to erect scarecrow image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to highlight the insensitivity of the government towards the spiralling prices. In Infopark in Kochi, the supporters will hold a public meeting at 12 noon on the campus marked by video presentation.