Shops remain closed following hartal call given by Hindu organisations

Friday’s hartal call by Hindu organisations to protest against the attack of their men in Coimbatore and the Nilgris saw almost all the shops remaining closed in the city and other towns in the district.

The day also saw unidentified persons stone Government and private buses. In all more than 15 buses were damaged in the city and other parts of the district. The Coimbatore City Police, who had posted their men across the city, foiled a stone-throwing attempt at a restaurant on the Sathyamangalam Road in Saravanampatti police station limits. A similar attempt was reportedly made at a restaurant in North Coimbatore.

Miscreants pelted stones at a furniture shop on Brooke Bond Road and a few bakeries.

Coimbatore City Police said that it has registered 11 cases in connection with the violence on Friday. Five buses were damaged and in this connection it had arrested 28 persons and seized four vehicles. The Coimbatore Rural Police said that it had registered 10 cases in connection with stoning 10 buses and arrested four persons.

Shopkeepers chose to play safe by downing their shutters. Almost all the shops on Cross Cut Road, 100 Feet Road, Big Bazaar Street, Oppanakara Street, Vysial Street, D.B. Road, R.G. Street, Thadagam Road, at Town Hall, R.S. Puram, Ramanathapuram and Hope College remained closed.

Pharmacies, flower market, a few footwear shops on Big Bazaar Street, a few other shops in Ukkadam and Athupalam remained open. Vegetable markets that remained open till 10 a.m. remained closed thereafter.

The Coimbatore City Police said that it had mobilised its entire strength, posted its men across the city and increased security at religious establishments.

According to sources, buses from Karanampettai to Gandhipuram, R.S. Puram to Gandhipuram, and Appanaickenpatti to Ukkadam were stoned. Buses were stoned near the ‘Pal Company’ stop on Thadagam Road, on the Vadavalli-Edayarpalayam Road and a few other places. The windshields were completely damaged, the police said and added none of the passengers suffered serious injuries. The police had registered cases to probe the stone-throwing incidents.

Likewise, the Saravanampatti Police were also probing the attempt to stone a restaurant on Sathyamangalam Road.

In Pollachi, miscreants stoned Government and private buses in Kottampatti, Eripatti, Oonjavelampatti, Rasakkapalayam and a few other places. Senior officials in the Coimbatore Rural Police rushed to the spot. Sources in Pollachi said that miscreants targeted a Kerala State Road Transport Corporation bus in Pollachi.

Superintendent of Coimbatore Rural Police E.S. Uma said that no such incident happened. In Mettupalayam again almost all the traders closed their shops.

In Tirupur, incidents of stone-pelting and attempts to forcibly shut the shops were reported from different parts of the district. The hartal evoked partial response in the district.

The police arrested seven persons whom, according to officials, tried to close down some shops near Arulpuram on the city outskirts.

Some miscreants threw stones and caused damages to a showcase kept on the floor of a fruit stall at Rakkiapalayam Pirivu after the shop owner refused to pull down the shutters.

Just a few hours before the dawn-to-dusk hartal began on the day, a few unidentified people hurled stones at buses at Pongalur and near Avinashi causing damages to the windscreens of the vehicles.

The hartal hit normal life in various parts of the Nilgiris district.

Enquiries made by The Hindu revealed that in Coonoor the call evoked a good response with practically all the commercial establishments being closed and autorickshaws, taxies, mini buses etc going off the roads.

In Kotagiri also all the traders downed shutters and only a few government buses plied. In Gudalur, many of the shops remained closed and roads wore a deserted look.

In Ooty, some of the shops inside the municipal market and on the main roads run by Muslims remained open.

With most of the hotels being closed, tourists were subjected to inconvenience. There was mild tension near the Government Headquarters Hospital here when the driver of a truck was brought there for treatment of a mild injury reportedly sustained when his truck was stoned by some unidentified persons near Manthada.

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