THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Hundreds of people, including families with small kids, were stranded at railway stations and bus stands owing to the late night hartal call by BJP on Sunday. Tension prevailed across the state with hartal supporters hurling stone and blocking vehicles at various parts. Many reached the destinations by early morning trains unaware of the hartal and were stranded for hours. Taxis and autorickshaws kept off the roads. Only a few private vehicles were seen on the roads. Though KSRTC initiated service in the morning, the services were stopped immediately owing to stone hurling at buses at some places. A Volvo bus of KSRTC was also damaged in stone pelting at Kollam, causing minor injury the driver.
BJP supporters clashed with police at Kottayam, where even media persons were attacked for covering the violence by BJP activists. BJP activists damaged hoardings and flags of CPM and also attacked an office of CITU at Kottayam. Vehicles were also blocked. A team of media persons covering the incidents were threatened by BJP activists. Some even tried to damage cameras and pelted stones at media persons. At Vilappilsala on the rural parts of Thiruvananthapuram hartal supporters attacked a police jeep and a local office of CPM. A KSRTC bus to Ponmudi was damaged at Aruvikkara by around 5 a.m. No one were injured in these incidents.
Hartal supporters also blocked vehicles at Umayanallor in Kollam, Chikli in Jannur, Ottapalam in Palakkad and various parts of Malappuram and Trissur. In Kochi hartal supports attacked a petrol pump that functioned. Many staff who were on duty for PSC exams on distrant districts on Saturday were also stranded at raiwlay stations as they retruned by trains in the morning. Hartal supporters blocked the Alappuzha- Changanassery road at Mankombu, Pallathuruthy and Ramankari. Boat services of the Kerala Water Transport Department were also disrupted.
Hundreds of persons who regularly depend on hotels for food were also left hugary. “In case of hartals with advance intimation, we could make some alternative arrangments or could depend on canteens at government offices. Since it was a Sunday, the canteens are also closed and were are literally left hungary through out the day,” said J Sebastian residing at a lodge at Palayam. Though a section of traders had earlier opposed the hartal call, almost all shops remained shut during the day. The police registered over a dozen cases across the state in connection with the hartal related law and order incidents.