The dawn-to-dusk hartal called by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) across the State on Monday was peaceful and total in Kozhikode with no incidents of violence being reported from any part of the district. The hartal was called in protest against the Union government’s decision to implement the K. Kasturirangan Committee report on Western Ghats.
With public transport vehicles and most of the private vehicles keeping off the road, and shops and business establishments remaining closed, life was affected. Attendance in government offices was below 25 per cent, according to sources. All educational institutions remained closed. Minor skirmishes followed by the blocking of a two-wheeler by hartal supporters at Koorachund, near Kakkayam, around 35 km from the city and the partial destruction of a Milma booth allegedly by hartal supporters at Koduvally in the district were among the isolated untoward incidents in connection with the hartal. However, no cases were registered in connection with the violence, the police said. In the backdrop of the widespread incidents of violence that took place in the Ghat regions of Thamarassery, Thiruvambadi and Koodaranhi in the district on Friday, a large posse of police was deployed in sensitive areas of the district.
Passengers were stranded at the railway station and at the inter-State bus terminal. LDF workers led by Communist Party of India (Marxist) district secretary T.P. Ramakrishnan and Communist Party of India leader I.V. Sasankan took out a march from the Muthalakkulam Grounds to the Malabar Christian College in the city in support of the hartal in the morning. Leaders of the UDF allies, including Congress and Indian Union Muslim League, as well as leaders of the Revolutionary Marxist Party criticised the decision to call a hartal and termed the decision as a ‘cheap tactic’ to gain political mileage out of the crisis.