20 policemen, several others injured in clashes; government offices burnt
Rural areas of Kozhikode district witnessed tense scenes in the dawn-to-dusk hartal on Friday called by the LDF and the UDF against the implementation of the Kasturirangan panel report.
Senior police officials, including District Police Chief (Kozhikode Rural) P.H. Ashraf and Deputy Superintendent of Police Jaison K. Abraham were blocked and their vehicles attacked by a mob at Adivaram. The police fired three rounds in the air to disperse the mob and rescue the detained officers.
Nearly 20 policemen and several other persons were injured in the clashes that erupted following the incident on Friday evening.
The mob also foiled the attempt of the police to move their injured colleagues to hospitals.
Hartal supporters blocked all the village roads in six grama panchayats including Thiruvambadi, Koodaranhi, Kodencheri, Puthuppadi and Kavilumpara and attacked government offices, media and several public and private vehicles.
The protestors who thronged the Thamarassery- Chungam market by noon set ablaze a police vehicle and blocked the route for hours. Windshields of KSRTC buses were smashed.
People from the surrounding villages too rushed to the spot in goods carriers and foiled the attempt of the police to take control over the situation.
Although Thamarassery was not included in the list of hartal areas, the scene witnessed a change after a march taken out by hartal supporters to the market.
A violent mob attacked journalists from various news channels and destroyed their cameras. A vehicle of a TV news channel was also torched in the violence.
In Nellipoyil, a mob attacked a village office and the nearby telephone exchange. Tension prevailed in the area as the police tried to take into custody some of the hartal supporters. Protestors dispersed from the area only after the police withdrew from the scene.
In some locations, the forest offices also came under attack.
The Thamarassery Forest range office was partly damaged as the protestors tried to set afire to the building. In Poozhithodu and Vilangad also the forest offices were partly destroyed in heavy stone pelting.
In Puthuppadi, the highway was blocked for hours interrupting the long distance services to Bangalore.
In Thiruvambadi and Pulloorampara, police vehicles were blocked. Government offices were forcefully closed down by hartal supporters who pelted the Kodencheri Village office.
Commercial establishments and educational institutions remained closed on Friday. Both the CPI(M) district secretary T.P. Ramakrishnan and District Congress Committee president K.C. Abu said that they had not endorsed such a violent mode of protest against the Kasturirangan panel reprot. C. Moyinkutty, MLA, who represents the Thiruvambadi assembly constituency, called for an inquiry to find out who was responsible for the violent incidents.