General strike total in city

INEVITABLE WAIT: Goods lorries held up near Chungam Junction in the city on Tuesday on account of the general strike called by Left organisations. Photo: S. Ramesh Kurup

INEVITABLE WAIT: Goods lorries held up near Chungam Junction in the city on Tuesday on account of the general strike called by Left organisations. Photo: S. Ramesh Kurup  

Raids conducted in Parambathu Bazaar area

Staff Reporter

KOZHIKODE: The city and its suburbs were paralysed on account of the 24-hour general strike called by various trade unions and service organisations on Tuesday.

Except for an isolated incident at Parambathu Bazaar coming under Elathoor police station limits on the outskirts of the city, the strike against the "anti-people policies of the United Democratic Front (UDF) Government" was peaceful.

A constable, K. Ranjith, attached to the Armed Reserve Camp was assaulted allegedly by a group of activists belonging to the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) in the afternoon.

He has been admitted to the Government Beach Hospital here. The mob attacked him while he was returning home after being discharged from the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital.

He had earlier sustained injuries during clashes between the police and Left-supported student organisations in front of the counselling centre at the Institute of Management in Government a few days ago.

Following the attack on the constable, the police carried out raids on houses leading to a tense situation in the area.

The police had to lob a tear gas grenade to disperse an angry mob at Parambathu Bazaar. Some of the culprits involved in the incident were later taken into custody.

Personal animosity

The Kozhikode City Police Commissioner, H. Venkatesh said that the incident was not connected to the general strike. The attack against the constable was owing to personal animosity, he said.

Buses, autorickshaws, lorries and other vehicles kept off the roads since bus workers, auto rickshaw drivers and lorry drivers unions had also participated in the strike.

The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) did not operate any services. Only a few two-wheelers and private light motor vehicles plied.

Commercial establishments including petrol bunks did not transact business. Educational institutions remained closed. The Calicut University had earlier postponed all examinations scheduled on Tuesday.

Attendance in all Government offices remained thin. Out of the over 200 staff, 20 senior officials including District Collector Rachna Shah, the Additional District Magistrate P. Koyakutty and the Revenue Divisional Officer T. Bhaskaran attended office. Special conveyance was arranged for some of the staff, Mr. Bhaskaran said.

Poor attendance

Corporation secretary P. Venugopal said that the attendance at the Kozhikode Corporation office was poor.

Twenty-two members of the staff out of the total 476 employees reported for duty.

The situation was similar at the Taluk offices and gramapanchayat offices in the district.

Normal functioning was hit at the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital. Only five per cent of the staff members reported for duty. But essential medical services were not affected as a result of the strike.

Doctors, nurses and laboratory assistants were present for duty, according to Hospital Superintendent Dr. V.R.Rajendran.

T.Dasan, district convener of trade union organisations, said that the strike was total in Kozhikode.

The activists of the trade unions and service organisations took out a protest march in the city starting from Muthalakulam Maidan to the Kidson Corner in the morning.

Elamaram Kareem and M.Sivaraman (CITU), K.M. Krishnankutty and P. Madahavn (AITUC), K.K.Mammu ( TUCI), Sunil Singh (INLC), E. Premkumar and Madhu (NGO Union) and K. Baby Sunderraj (FSETO) led the march.

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