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'Anonymous' Strike Over Kathua Rape Case Disrupts Life in Kerala

The strike call was anonymous as no organisation has claimed responsibility for the "protest to seek justice to the eight-year-old girl who was brutally raped and murdered in Kathua" which was spread through WhatsApp messages.

Chandrakanth Viswanath | News18

Updated:April 16, 2018, 10:39 PM IST
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'Anonymous' Strike Over Kathua Rape Case Disrupts Life in Kerala
Representative image. (Image: PTI)
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Thiruvananthapuram: Monday's strike in Kerala, a state where dawn to dusk shutdowns are common, had a novelty.

The call was anonymous as no organisation has claimed responsibility for the "protest to seek justice to the eight-year-old girl who was brutally raped and murdered in Kathua" which was spread through WhatsApp messages.

It badly hit districts north of Palakkad such as Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod where the hartal supporters stopped vehicles at several places, forcefully shut down shops and pelted stones at KSRTC buses. In Tanur area of Malappuram, prohibitory orders were declared for seven days following violent incidents.

"Hooliganism in the name of protest! Roads blocked and people abused on roads from Calicut airport- Chemmad- Kodinji-Tanur. Please pass the message and stay safe! The police force has been intimated and they are making arrests I hear," tweeted Award-winning actor Parvathy T K, who got a special mention the 65th national awards.

SDPI workers who took a march towards a police station in Kannur were arrested. The party’s workers were arrested in Malappuram too after their involvement in violence. However, SDPI state president Naseeruddin Elamaram denied the involvement of the party in the hartal.

"We have not given a call for any hartal. It is a spontaneous reaction from the people especially youth, in a topic such as the rape and murder of the girl," he said.

"I don't understand the logic of angry mobs burning tyres in the middle of the road and attacking vehicles in Malappuram to protest against the baby girl raped and murdered in Kashmir. How can hurting the public here do any help to the poor child?” asked Sally Varma, a human rights activist in Facebook.

“An old man almost fell off the steps of a bus as the passengers were forcefully made to get down, crowds stopping vehicles and using extremely abusive language. Is this how people plan on getting justice for a murdered child?” she added.

In the last 106 days in 2018, as many as 31 dawn- to- dusk hartals have been called in the state. Curiously, 13 of them were on Mondays. Also, April 16 was the 16 Monday of the year. “This shows the attitude of the Keralites to attach a holiday after the Sunday," said Manoj Niraksharan of Say No to Hartal, a group campaigning against hartals in the state.

Both Congress and Muslim league have disowned the hartal, despite WhatsApp messages saying UDF has offered its support.

"There is a move by Muslim fundamentalist outfits to create communal violence in the in-state under the guise of Kashmir incident. There were obscene banners in the march which amount to a case under IPC 153 (A) for promoting disharmony and feelings of enmity between different religions. However, the police are not taking on orders from the top", said BJP State General security K Surendran.

Meanwhile, BJP leader Kummanam Rajasekharan has submitted a memorandum to DGP seeking action for the violence in the hartal.
| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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