Guard injured; four motorcycles set ablaze

A three-star bar hotel, Aramana, functioning at Karadiyil near Thamarassery on the Kozhikode-Kollegal National Highway in the district, was set on fire by miscreants on Saturday morning.

P. Jismon, 32, a security guard, sustained burns in the incident that occurred around 6.30 a.m. A barman, P. Mohanan, 35, was injured in a stone-throwing in the night.

Four motorbikes that had been parked in the compound were also set ablaze. The furniture, centralised air-conditioning, and a restaurant attached to the bar hotel were destroyed. A Fire and Rescue Services team from Mukkom doused the flames. “ A group of 50 persons attacked the bar. The loss has been estimated at Rs.1 crore,” said P. Mohandas, manager.

The attack on the bar hotel started at 7.30 p.m. on Friday with stone-throwing that continued late into the night. “This was carried out in the guise of the ongoing protest against the Kasturirangan panel report, ” he said.

Activists of the Kerala Madya Nirodhana Samiti have been staging an agitation against the bar since it opened more than four years ago. Then the protest was held only during the evenings. “But from October 7, they started a full-time agitation, ” Mr. Mohandas said.

The police suspect that the attack could be handiwork of a Muslim fundamentalist outfit. “Two policemen were posted in front of the bar following an order from the High Court of Kerala,” Jaison K. Abraham, Thamarassery DySP, said.

“The incident had nothing to with the farmers’ agitation,” he said.