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Hartal throws life out of gear

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NO COMMUTERS: The KSRTC bus stand wears a deserted look on Friday following a hartal call by the BJP. - Photo: H. Vibhu
NO COMMUTERS: The KSRTC bus stand wears a deserted look on Friday following a hartal call by the BJP. - Photo: H. Vibhu

Staff Reporter

Barring a minor incident, no cases of violence reported

KOCHI: The dawn-to-dusk hartal called by the Bharatiya Janata party against the hike in fuel prices passed off peacefully in the district.

Barring one incident of stone pelting on Seaport-Airport road, no untoward incident was reported.

Two unidentified persons pelted stones at a car carrying employees of a private company when the vehicle reached Seaport-Airport road in the afternoon. Though the passengers of the car identified the number of the two-wheeler in which the miscreants arrived, it was later found to be the number of a Maruti car, the police said.

Though the windshields of the car were damaged in the incident, no one was hurt, the police said.

Though the public transport system in the district was affected, a few private vehicles including cars and two-wheelers were seen plying. Cars sporting `marriage' boards were also seen on the city roads.

Attendance in Government offices was thin. Shops and other commercial establishments remained closed. However, medical shops and a few hotels functioned much to the relief of the city dwellers. .

The hartal also affected the functioning of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC). The corporation could operate only 10 trips in place of the average 399 trips on Friday. All the ten trips were operated to Thrikakkara area in convoy, the KSRTC authorities said.

The corporation resumed full-fledged operation in the evening. All the buses in the KSRTC stand began operation in evening and passengers started arriving in large numbers as the hartal ended, officials said.

The functioning of boats operated by the transport corporation was also affected following the hartal. The boats of the corporation were all berthed at the Ernakulam jetty.

Most of the trains ran on time and there was no disruption of trail traffic, according to Southern Railway officials at the Ernakulam South Railway Station. Cars and other carriages that took passengers from and to the Nedumbassery International airport plied after displaying the board `airport'.

BJP activists took out protest rallies in different parts of the district as part of the agitation against the increase in fuel price. Marches were taken out on MG road in the city, Muvattupuzha, Paravur and Munambam areas of the district.

M.D. Divakaran, district president of the BJP, claimed that the hartal was near total in the district. E.S. Purushothaman, district general secretary of the BJP and M. Ashish, district president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, led the protest march in the city.

"People positively responded to the hartal call and the hartal passed off peacefully. This indicated that the general public wholeheartedly received the hartal called by the party," he said.

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