Staff Reporter

Supporters throw stones at newspaper vehicle

Police arrest three in connection with the incidentPrivate, KSRTC buses keep off the roadOffices register thin attendance

Kozhikode: Barring isolated and minor incidents of stone-throwing the dawn-to-dusk State-wide hartal called on Friday by the Bharatiya Janata Party and its feeder organisations against the steep hike in petrol and diesel prices was total and peaceful in the district.

Hartal supporters threw stones at a Toyota Qualis jeep of the Malayala Manorama in which the Koduvally MLA P.T.A. Rahim and the newspaper's special correspondent P. Damodaran were travelling, at Bharathan Nagar at Chelavoor here at around 12.15 p.m.

Mr. Rahim was returning home after attending a phone-in programme organised by the newspaper at its office at Nadakkavu in the morning. Only the body of the vehicle was partially damaged in the attack. The police arrested three persons in connection with the incident.

Incidents of stone throwing at private vehicles were also reported from Chelavoor and Chevayur. Some of the rural areas of the district, including Meyppayur, Payyoli and Vadakara, witnessed heated exchanges between hartal supporters and road users.

The police had to intervene to disperse angry mobs at these places.

Private buses and State-owned Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses did not ply in the district. However, KSRTC buses operated services after 6 p.m. Autorickshaws also kept off the road.

Petrol bunks except the one run by the Supplyco near the office of the Kozhikode City Police Commissioner was open during the hartal hours.

Attendance was thin at the Government offices, including the Corporation Office and District Collectorate. Students were absent at the educational institutions. Business establishments remained closed for the day. Transaction at the banks was also negligible on account of the hartal.