KOZHIKODE: A dawn-to-dusk strike called by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) to protest against the arrest of Kannur district secretary P. Jayarajan in connection with the murder of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) activist Abdul Shukoor, was total in the state and was marked by widespread violence on Thursday.
Clashes between IUML workers and CPI-M loyalists in Kasargod left a CPI-M activist dead and two others seriously injured.
Scores of party offices, cultural centres, shops, houses, government offices, police stations and business establishments were attacked by supporters and opponents of the strike.
In many places police resorted to baton charge and used grenade to disburse unruly crowd. Vehicles were blocked in several parts of the state and stones were pelted at KSRTC buses in many districts. In some places newspaper bundles were burnt.
A Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) activist was beaten to death allegedly by IUML supporters at Thachangad, near Bekal in Kasargod district.
DYFI activist Manoj, 28, suffered serious head injuries after he was beaten up by the assailants.
CPI-M Thachangad local committee member Karunakaran also suffered serious injuries in the attack.
Manoj, a collection agent of the Panayal Service Co-operative Bank, was rushed to a private hospital in Kasargod where he was declared “brought dead” around 2.30pm.
CPI-M has called for a hartal in Kasargod district on Friday from 6 to 5pm to protest against the killing.
IUML denied charges and said that Manoj died after collapsing during the march.
In Kozhikode district, stones were pelted on KSRTC buses in Koduvally.
In Parappanangadi in Malappuram district violent marchers stoned a police station injuring a sub inspector. Congress committee office at Villiapalli was set on fire.
Congress offices at Madukothu and Pullaril in Kanjangad in Kannur district were set on fire.
In Payyanur, Moovatupuzha and Kallarukattam newspaper bundles were set aflame.
Three Congress offices in Pinarayi, IUML office in Edathod and CPI-M office at Kannur Station Road came under attack.
Houses and shops belonging to CPI-M activists also came under attack in various locations.
Two KSRTC employees of the Thiruvananthapuram Nedumangad KSRTC depot, who reported for duty in the morning, were attacked by hartal supporters.
The window-panes of a KSRTC bus were smashed in Thellakath, Kottayam.
CPI-M workers blocked roads in Vypin, Ernakulam and Kalpetta in Waynad.
In Alappuzha, a KSRTC driver was injured in the stone pelting.
The protesters prevented traffic on the Palakkad Puducherry National Highway route.
Two battalions of Rapid Action Force (RAF), brought from Coimbatore on Wednesday, remained indoors on Thursday.
According to ADGP Rajesh Diwan, who described the situation as under control, said on Thursday that RAF will be deployed only when the situation warrants.
“The situation in Kannur is under control. The safety of the people and their lives are important. At any cost, law and order will be maintained. Attack against police stations will be dealt with strictly,” ADGP said on Thursday.
P. Jayarajan, who was remanded to 14 days on Wednesday, submitted a bail plea at the Kannur Judicial First Class Magistrate Court on Thursday.
The court posted the hearing of the bail application moved by his counsel for Friday after the prosecutor sought time for the police to submit its report.
In his bail application, Rajesh said that his name was included in the accused list at the behest of Muslim League.
“Besides the attacks during the shutdown, there were incidents of their families being intimidated, agricultural lands destroyed and houses stoned at night.
“This is a dangerous trend and it’s unheard of in the past,” Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said.
“Cases will be taken up in connection with each and every incident of violence and they will be followed up legally.”