The protest march taken out by the SFI, DYFI, AIYF and others in the State on Friday against the hike in the price of petrol turned violent at several places with the agitators torching three vehicles, including a police jeep in the capital, and attacking the General Post Office here and the divisional office of the Indian Oil Corporation in Kozhikode.

In the capital, violent incidents started after the DYFI activists, who took out a march, pelted stones at the General Post Office destroying its window panes.

The police, who were fewer in number, were taken aback as the incident took place when the SFI was holding a march to the Government Secretariat with an effigy of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Additional police personnel who were rushed to the spot were greeted with stone pelting. The activists destroyed the flower pots and hurled them at the police personnel.

The Circle Inspector, Pettah, Prakash was injured in the incident. The police had to resort to lathi charge and use water cannons to disperse the agitators.

Later, the DYFI activists blocked the traffic on the MG Road as they resorted to a dharna with the effigy of the Prime Minister. The police had to forcibly remove the activists to clear the road for vehicular traffic.

Around this time, the police personnel who were in front of the University College were attacked, reportedly by SFI activists from the campus. Once the stone-pelting intensified, the police entered the campus after hurling grenades. The injured had been rushed to the Medical College Hospital. The police action came for strong protest from the SFI, and the CPI(M) leaders Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, Vaikom Viswan and V. Sivankutty, MLA, who arrived at the college.

Tense situation prevailed in the Cantonment police station after Mr. Sivankutty started a dharna demanding release of the students who were taken into custody. The IG, Thiruvananthapuram range, K. Padmakumar, held talks with Mayor K. Chandrika, and CPI(M) district unit secretary Kadakampally Surendran, and Mr. Sivankutty withdrew the dharna after the students were shifted to the hospital. Later, the car of the Kerala Public Service Commission was torched near Kunnukuzhy around 1.30 p.m., that of the Health Services near the General Hospital junction by 3 p.m. and a police jeep near Thekkumoodu around 7 p.m. Another police jeep was also attacked near PMG junction.

In Kozhikode, the AIYF activists stormed into the office of the IOC at Eranhipalam and damaged the office property causing extensive damage.

Hartal today

The LDF has called for a dawn-to-dusk hartal in the capital on Saturday to protest against the police action. Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan demanded action against the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) for leading police action against the students and youths who agitated against the petrol price hike.

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