Ten-hour hartal against attack on anti-corruption forum activists

The 10-hour hartal called by the United Democratic Front (UDF) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday evoked mixed response in the city while isolated incidents of violence were reported from its rural belts.

Stone-pelting

Hartal protesters pelted stones at three private buses that operated services from Kannur, Kasaragod, Wayanad, and Malappuram districts.

The hartal, from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., was observed in protest against the attack on a sit-in organised by the Azhimathi Virudha Janakeeya Munnani, an anti-corruption forum of residents, by the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) activists at Mananchira here on Monday evening.

Private buses, autos, and taxis kept off the road in the city. But vehicles including four-wheelers were seen plying. Hartal protesters attempted to create blocks at many places including Muthalakulam and East Hill.

Commercial establishments and hotels remained closed. Attendances at government offices were reported to be thin. Educational institutions declared a holiday in view of the hartal.

Officials of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation said 70 out 217 bus schedules operated services in the district with police escort. Private buses plying on the Koyilandy-Medical College, Kozhikode-Vengara, and Kozhikode- Manjeri routes were target of the protesters.

The police had to chase away BJP workers with lathis at Market road, Vadakara, for blocking the road. A BJP worker, Dileep, 47, who sustained minor injuries, was admitted to Vadakara Government Hospital.

DYFI workers held

The police also arrested four DYFI workers in connection with the incident of rioting and assault.

Those arrested were DYFI Town Block Committee joint secretary Biju Chenoliparambil, 40, DYFI North Block Committee member O. K. Sreejesh, Town Regional Committee member P. Harkishan, and Chalappuram Regional Committee member T. Vyshak.

Injured

At least a dozen people, including BJP district president P. Reghunath and few Congress workers, were injured in the melee on Monday.

The anti-corruption forum leaders, including K.P. Vijayakumar, K. Shybu, and P.M. Premraj, and BJP leader P. Peethambaram, were admitted to the Government General Hospital here.

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