The Communist Party of India (Marxist) will observe a hartal in Idukki district on Thursday in protest against the arrest of its former district secretary M.M. Mani on Wednesday.

Party district secretary K.K. Jayachandran said the arrest of Mr. Mani was made with an ulterior motive and it would be opposed politically and legally. There was a political agenda to attack the party at various levels and the arrest was part of it, he alleged.

Mr. Mani was arrested after he resisted a polygraph test by the police in a case related to the murder of INTUC leader Anchery Baby in 1982. The other accused in the case who refused to undergo the lie-detection test are former CITU district secretary O.G. Madanan, CPI (M) district committee member A.K. Damodaran and Pampupara Kuttan.

A top police officer said the police personnel, including those from the Armed Reserve Force, were deployed in sensitive areas in the district.

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