KERALA

General strike total, peaceful

EXPRESSING SOLIDARITY: A view of the march taken out by pro-Left trade unions in Kollam on Tuesday extending support to the general strike.

EXPRESSING SOLIDARITY: A view of the march taken out by pro-Left trade unions in Kollam on Tuesday extending support to the general strike.  

Minor incidents of violence in Kollam; normal life affected

Staff Reporter

PATHANAMTHITTTA: The 24-hour general strike on Monday called by various trade unions owing allegiance to the Left parties was total and peaceful in the Central Travancore district of Pathanamthitta.

Government offices and banks recorded thin attendance. Shops and other business establishments remained close in most parts of the district, including many villages in the remote areas. Motor vehicles, barring a few two-wheelers, remained off the road and the major towns of Thiruvalla, Ranni, Adoor, Pathanamthita, Pandalam, Kozhencherry, Mallappally and Konni wore a deserted look, literally paralysing normal life in the district.

The Left parties took out marches in all major towns in protest against the alleged anti-labour policies of the State Government.

Of the 112 staff attached to various offices at the Collectorate, only 22 turned up for duty on Monday while the attendance at the district police headquarters here was 11 out of 46, according to official sources. Only 217 employees of the 767-strong Kerala State Electricity Board turned up for work. Kerala Water Authority recorded an attendance of 24 out of 89.

Sources in Kerala State Road Transport Corporation claimed that Pathanamthitta depot recorded 52 per cent attendance on Monday. The KSRTC operated convoy services from its depots in Pathanamthitta, Adoor and Thiruvalla.

Post office stoned

Protestors participating in a march hurled stones at the post office in Pandalam town. In another incident, a group of protestors allegedly attacked a telephone exchange at Kalanjoor, near Konni, and assaulted a line staff of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, Radhakrishnan Unnithan, who was on duty at the phone exchange, according to the police. The police have registered cases in connection with the two incidents.

Though the trade unions had declared earlier that a joint march would be taken out in the town, the various parties took out marches separately.

The CITU march was inaugurated by its union district president P.J. Ajayakumar. CITU district secretary K.C. Rajagopal also addressed the march.

The United Trade Union Centre of the RSP was inaugurated by Motor Thozhilali Federation general secretary Saleem P.Chacko while the AITUC march was led by its district leader, Benzy Thomas. Addressing the UTUC workers' march, Mr. Saleem blamed the CITU for taking out a separate march in Pathanamthittta.

KSEB offices attacked

Staff Reporter writes from Kollam: The strike passed off peacefully in Kollam district too. Heavy vehicles and cars kept off the road. Private and KSRTC buses and autorickshaws did not operate services. Shops, commercial establishments and public markets remained closed. Educational institutions also remained closed.

Sporadic incidents of violence were reported from the district, At Chathannur last night, strike supporters scaled the wall and entered the KSEB division office compound and set on fire two KSEB jeeps parked there.

In Paravur town, strike supporters attacked the KSEB office. Police resorted to a lathicharge to disperse the miscreants.

Novelist Kakanadan and family were given a lift in a police jeep to reach the Kollam Railway Station from their house at Eravipuram. Kakanadan and family left for Delhi by the Kerala Express.

They contacted the police for help in reaching the station.

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