Hartal total, peaceful

via www.dailypioneer.com published on June 9, 2006

The BJP-sponsored dawn-to-dusk hartal and the general strike called by the BMS-affiliated Motor Transport Workers and Engineering Federation on Friday to protest against the hike in prices of petrol and diesel evoked almost total response throughout the State. Barring a few incidents of stone-pelting on private vehicles, no untoward incident was reported from anywhere.

Shops, hotels and business establishments remained closed and trucks, taxies, autorickshaws, private buses, and Kerala State Transport Corporation buses kept off the roads. Only two-wheelers and a few private cars were seen on the roads.

Educational institutions remained closed while banks and Government offices functioned with sparse attendance.

Hartal supporters held a march to the State Secretariat as a part of the agitation demanding immediate rollback of the price hike. Hartals in Kollam, Thrissur and Alappuzha districts was said to be total and peaceful. In Kollam, KSRTC engaged three bus services each to Karunagappally and Attingal. An incident of stone-pelting was reported from Adoor in Pathanamthitta district, where the hartal was total and otherwise peaceful.

In Kochi, over 1000 private buses plying in the city were off the roads. Only two KSRTC buses operated services to Kakkanad where the district collectorate is located but there were hardly any passengers.

The movement of container cargo from and to the Kochi port was completely affected. But loading and unloading activities inside the port went on normally.

In Kozhikode and other northern districts, the hartal was near total and by and large peaceful. Reports from Malappuram said the hartal evoked only partial response in the district. Lorries and private vehicles were seen on the roads.

BJP activists took out marches in several parts of Kottayam district, including Changanacherry, Pala, Ettumanoor and Vaikom. The CPI(M) also observed a day of ‘protest’ in the district against the price hike. The Mahatma Gandhi University had postponed all examinations and interviews scheduled for Friday. The revised dates would be announced later.

A Kozhikode report said that stones were pelted at a vehicle of a newspaper, in which PTA Rahim, MLA from Koduvally was traveling, in Chelavoor. Police nabbed three persons in connection with the incident.

Kottiyoor in Kannur district and Mahe in Pondicherry were exempted from the hartal. Kottiyoor was exempted due to the festival there and Mahe did not observe hartal as the process for the municipal election was in progress.

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