Coupled as it was with the 24-hour strike by Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) employees, the dawn-to-dusk hartal called by the Opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) in different parts of the State proved near total.
The hartal, called to press for total exemption for the State from the recommendations of the Kasturirangan Committee, covered Wayanad and Idukki districts, several Assembly segments in Malappuram and Kozhikode districts, and taluks in Kannur and Malappuram.
In Wayanad, the hartal supporters obstructed vehicles on the Kerala-Karnataka and Kerala-Tamil Nadu State borders at Tholpetty, Muthanga and Thaloor. Private buses, taxis and autorickshaws kept off the road and, as a result, attendance in government offices was a low 10 per cent.
In Idukki, the hartal was total in the high ranges, but there was only partial response in the lower reaches, including parts of Thodupuzha taluk. No untoward incidents were reported from any part of the district.
At Munnar, only a few private vehicles and two-wheelers were seen on the roads. Opposition activists held demonstrations in Katappana town. The Public Service Commission (PSC) conducted its upper division clerk examinations at two centres at Kattappana, but there was only 55 per cent attendance, official sources said.
In Kozhikode, thousands of women from the hilly regions held a ‘Lamentation Rally’ on Saturday in support of the indefinite hunger strike organised by the Paschimaghatta Janasamrakshana Samiti before the Collectorate. Kozhikode Bishop Varghese Chakkalakkal inaugurated the rally, which called for rejection of both the Gadgil and Kasturirangan panels’ recommendations.
Aji Puthiyaparambil, a priest of the Thamarasseri diocese, Joy Kannanchira of Kavilumpara Village, O.D. Thomas and Biju Kannanthara of Kattippara Village, and C.N.Purushothaman of Thiruvambady village are on indefinite hunger strike before the Collectorate since Wednesday.