Minister for Social Welfare M.K. Muneer and historian M.G.S. Narayanan joined a group of newspaper readers who gathered at a bus station here on Tuesday morning to protest against the ongoing strike by newspaper agents in several parts of Kerala.The Minister, a leader of the Indian Union Muslim League, and other protesters said they wanted to express their resentment over the strike since it had denied ordinary people their right to read the newspapers of their choice.The Minister and Dr. Narayanan distributed copies of certain newspapers at the spot .While it was the legitimate right of every group to launch agitations over grievances, methods of protest that deprive people of their right to information were unfair and indefensible in a democracy, Dr. Muneer said. The strike was unfair since it deprived common people of their daily morning fare of news and information they offered, he said.Dr. Narayanan, a former chairman of the Indian Council for Historical Research, said that without the morning newspaper ordinary Malayalees like him just felt lost.Several other social workers including a former vice-chairman of the Kerala Sahithya Akademi, U.K. Kumaran, and novelist K.P. Sudheera took part in the demonstration. Mr. Kumaran said the striking newspaper agents had a "hidden political agenda."

Call for steps to end strike

The Indian Chamber of Commerce & industry has urged the State government to take measures to end the strike by a section of newspaper agents which has been causing hardship to the people. In a statement, the organisation's president, Prakash James, said the common man's fundamental right to information was being restricted due to the strike.

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