Wide-spread violence in CPI(M)'s Kerala hartal
A series of violent incidents today marked the CPI(M)-sponsored dawn-to-dusk hartal in Kerala to protest the arrest of its senior leader P Jayarajan in connection with a murder case.
Pro-CPI (M) Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) activist Manoj (24) was beaten to death allegedly by Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) supporters at Uduma in northern-most Kasargod district.
In Palakkad, a supporter of the hartal Shanmugham(44) collapsed while taking part in a protest march and died on the way to hospital. Besides, several people were injured in clashes and stone pelting.
Reports from different parts of the state said shops, business establishment and educational institutions remained closed, government offices registered thin attendance while public transport went-off the roads in the hartal that affected normal life.
Several vehicles and government offices came under severe stone-pelting.
Home Minister Thiruvananchoor Radhakrishnan told newspersons here that about 200 incidents of violence were reported during the CPI(M)-sponsored hartal today. As many as 57 party offices of the Congress and 18 party offices of the IUML were ransacked by the hartal supporters.
Stating that the house of a police officer also came under attack, the Home Minister made it clear that stringent action would be taken against those who unleash violence in the name of hartal.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said cases would be taken against each and every violent incident in connection with the hartal.
Referring to the attack on police personnel involved in investigations of political murders, the Chief Minister said, if the existing laws were found inadequate to effectively deal with such incidents, strong legislation would be brought in.
A report from Kozhikode said offices reported thin attendance due to non-availability of transport. Police said hartal supporters pelted stones at Kerala State Electricity Board office at Nilambur damaging it partially and Feroke Police Station in Kozhikode district, adding they had also thrown a bomb at a police jeep in politically sensitive Nadapuram.
The party activists, shouting slogans against the arrest, took out demonstration in Kozhikode city.
CPI (M) Kerala State Committee member and Kannur District Secretary P Jayarajan was arrested yesterday and remanded in custody for 14 days in connection with the murder Indian Union Muslim League youth wing activist Abdul Shukkoor.
A report from Kasaragod said activists of the DYFI and IUML engaged in a word duel when the former attempted to prevent the latter who came in a jeep. This developed in to a clash, in which DFYI Ambangad Cheekkanam unit President Manoj, Thanchangad CPI (M) Local Committee Secretary M Karunakaran and SFI district Joint Secretary Siva Prasad were injured. A grievously wounded Manoj died in a nearby hospital.
Holding IUML responsible for the murder, the DYFI said Manoj was 'booted' to death by its activists adding it would observe a 'black day' throughout the state tomorrow in protest. The CPI (M) has called for a hartal in Kargod district in protest against the murder of the DYFI leader tomorrow, party sources said.
Denying its role, IUML State General Secretary K P A Majeed said Manoj died after he collapsed at the site adding the party was prepared to face any probe in connection with the incident.
Police said security has been tightened in and around the area as tension prevailed.
A report from Kannur said tension prevailed in the district for the second day today following the arrest of the CPI(M) leader. A team of CRPF Rapid Action Force (RAF) led by Commandant N Sasikumar reached here at early hours and reported before the ADGP Rajesh Dhiwan, who has been camping here for the last four days.
ADGP said, the law and order situtaion was under control and patrolling had been intensified since yesterday night.
He said the central force had been kept only as a reserve and the law and order situation would be maintained by Kerala police. For this additional police, including Malabar special police (MSP) and Kerala Armed Police (KAP) from neighbouring districts, had been deployed at various parts of the district.