Public transport vehicles stay off the road, shops remain largely shut
The dawn-to-dusk hartal, backed by Left Democratic Front (LDF) and United Democratic Front (UDF), was near-total in the district on Monday.
Barring a few isolated incidents, the shutdown that was announced in response to a call for a nationwide bandh by Samyukt Kisan Morcha has largely been peaceful.
While public transport vehicles remained off the roads, few taxis, autorickshaws and private vehicles could be seen in various parts of the district. While the movement of such vehicles remain unobstructed, there were a few instances of commercial outlets being forcibly closed by hartal supporters.
A supermarket and a financial institution was shuttered down when a group of agitators objected to their attempts to operate on the hartal day.
Minor violence broke out at a petrol pump at Ayanimoodu, near Pallichal, around 11.30 a.m. when nearly 10 activists manhandled its manager and a few employees including women for defying their instruction to suspend business for the day. The Naruvamoodu police have registered a case in connection with the incident.
Hartal supporters in Ayilam, near Attingal, purportedly hurled abuses at a group of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme workers when they had arrived for work on a plantation field.
The Chala bazaar presented a deserted scene, as only a few dejected traders opened their stalls in futile anticipation of customers turning up on the hartal day. While KSRTC suspended regular services during the hartal, special trips were undertaken at the behest of the City police from Thampanoor to the Regional Cancer Centre, Thirvuvananthapuram Government Medical College Hospital, and the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport.
The public utility resumed trips at 6 p.m. Major institutions including Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) ferried their staff on convoy basis with police protection.
With all trade unions except Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) pledging support towards the hartal, attendance levels was abysmal in the Secretariat and other government offices.
The Thiruvananthapuram City police had adopted tight security with pickets set up at 142 locations. Universities had deferred their examinations that were scheduled on the day.
In front of Raj Bhavan
All India Kisan Sabha vice-president and CPI(M) Polit Bureau member S. Ramachandran Pillai has said any attempt to privatise the agricultural sector by implementing the contentious farm laws in the country could sound the death knell for large sections.
He was inaugurating a protest meeting organised by the Kerala Samyuktha Karshaka Samiti in front of the Raj Bhavan to pledge solidarity with the nationwide Bharat Bandh on Monday.
Kerala Samyuktha Karshaka Samithi chairman Sathyan Mokeri, who presided over the meeting, said
farm laws threatened to push the country into unrest under such circumstances.
Binoy Viswam, MP, former Speaker M. Vijayakumar, and leaders of various farmers organisations, also participated in the demonstration.
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