Hartal coupled with strike left most roads deserted

At least 10 persons sustained minor injuries when Congress and Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] workers clashed at Manchavilakam in Parassala police station limits late on Wednesday.

A tense situation prevailed in the area and the police have deployed in strength to prevent any escalation of violence.

The police said the violence occurred when Congress workers took out a march in protest against the destruction of their flags and publicity material, allegedly by the CPI(M) workers late on Tuesday.

Soon, a large group of CPI(M) workers organised a counter protest in the locality. The police had a tough time preventing the workers from attacking each other. Both groups threw stones at the police, resulting in minor injuries to the riot police deployed there. The police resorted to a baton charge to break the Congress-CPI(M) activists’ fight.

Deputy Superintendent of Police, Neyyatinkara, Y.R. Rustom, was at the spot heading a picket of armed policemen. The clash was the high point of the day-long hartal called by Opposition parties demanding a judicial enquiry into the Team Solar financial fraud scam.

Incessant rain seemed to have enforced the strike more vigorously than its supporters. The roads were devoid of traffic for the better part of the day. The rain kept even two-wheeler riders indoors.

At Kazhakuttom, the driver of a delivery van, Kunju Muhammad of Kochi, was injured when persons suspected to be strike supporters threw stones at his vehicle in front of the Technopark here. Strike supporters also threw stones at the local office of Congress MLA M.A. Vahid.

Attendance was thin at government offices. Most business establishments, including shops, showrooms and hotels, remained closed till evening.

However, street food was available.

Autorickshaws and taxi cars remained off the road. Those which plied charged passengers exorbitantly. Left Democratic Front workers took out a march to the Secretariat in the morning.