RSS activist murder: hartal hits normal life in Kerala

RSS activist

The day-long hartal called by RSS in Kerala on Tuesday to protest murder of an activistin Kannur district disrupted normal life across the state.

Initial reports said buses, taxis and auto rickshaws kept off the roads and shops remained closed all over the state.

The state government has declared a holiday for educational institutions, including professional colleges and universities postponed examinations scheduled for the day.

Barring stray incidents of stone-pelting at buses no major violence had been reported from anywhere, police said.

The police security has been beefed up, especially in violence-prone areas in Kannur, considering the tense situation.

Those arrived at railway stations and airports were the worst affected. Many of them were provoked on seeing police personnel themselves stopping bus services.
Also, the migrant labourers, who used to depend on hotels and restaurants, also were at the receiving end.

Many of the candidates, who were registered for the Kerala PSC exams, could not reach the exam centres.

Stones were pelted at vehicles in Ernakulam South and Kakkanad. Accordingly, the bus services in the district were completely stopped.

The windshield of a bus plying between Thiruvananthapuram and Nagercoil was broken as stones were pelted at it. Following this, the services were stopped.

At Punalur in Kollam, the pro-hartal activists destroyed a hotel while vehicles were stopped at Cheruthoni in Idukki district.

They also forcibly closed the shops at Thodupuzha market and also assaulted a vegetable shop owner after destroying plantain.

At Haripad in Alappuzha, the windshields of two lorries were broken as stones were pelted at it. Police escorted KSRTC buses in the early hours in Kottayam, but later the services were stopped. The KSRTC operated no service in Kozhikode.

Manoj (42), a district office-bearer of RSS was hacked to death by a gang that attacked him in politically-volatile Kathirur in Kannur district in north Kerala on Monday. Two others were injured, one of them seriously, in the attack.

Country-made bombs were hurled at the car in which Manoj and his companions were travelling and the attackers then hacked him to death.

RSS-BJP leaders alleged that the CPI(M) was behind the killing and gave a call for a dawn-to-dusk hartal in the state on Tuesday.

Four persons, stated to be CPI(M) workers, have been taken into custody for questioning in connection with the incident, police said.

BJP President Amit Shah, who was in the state on Monday, condemned the killing at a convention of party workers. The party has pledged support to the hartal.

The area, which was witness to violence involving RSS and CPI(M) workers in the past, had remained largely calm in the last few years.

But tension resurfaced with BJP and CPI(M) poaching workers from each side in recent times.

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