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'Dawn-to-Dusk' Hartal Against Citizenship Act Evokes Partial Response, 350 Arrested

Over 350 people were arrested as a precautionary measure. Major political parties, including the ruling CPI(M) led LDF and the Opposition Congress headed UDF had distanced themselves from the hartal, which was called by a group of 30 Islamic and political outfits.

PTI

Updated:December 17, 2019, 11:16 PM IST
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'Dawn-to-Dusk' Hartal Against Citizenship Act Evokes Partial Response, 350 Arrested
College students burn tyres at a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Guwahati on Wednesday. (PTI)

Thiruvananthapuram: The dawn-to-dusk hartal in Kerala to protest against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act and attack on Jamia students in Delhi evoked a partial response on Tuesday, but stone-pelting on state-owned buses and road blockades were reported from across the state.

Over 350 people were arrested as a precautionary measure. Major political parties, including the ruling CPI(M), led LDF and the Opposition Congress headed UDF had distanced themselves from the hartal, which was called by a group of 30 Islamic and political outfits.

Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses were the target of ire of pro-hartal activists, who hurled stones at buses in several places, damaging window panes. A Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation bus coming from Velankani was also not spared at Walayar in Palakkad.

Shops were forcibly closed and protest marches held in support of the hartal, which saw even Muslim women carrying children in their arms hitting the roads, raising slogans against the Narendra Modi government.

In north Kerala, shops were shut in most places and buses were off the roads. A three-year-old child travelling with her family was injured when activists hurled stones at their car in Kannur. In Aluva near Kochi, hartal activists went shirtless to express solidarity with Jamia students.

A family on their way to the hospital with a sick child was stopped by hartal supporters at Mallappaly in Pathanamthitta district. However, in the video which went viral, police were seen

removing the protesters and helping the family proceed to the hospital.

Political parties in the LDF and UDF fronts kept away from the hartal, held a day after the two rival fronts organised a joint protest at the Martyr's column here against the law. A group of girl students who marched to the KSRTC bus depot were taken into custody and protestors forcibly trying to close down shops were caned by police at Kozhikode.

A march taken out at the state capital turned violent as hartal activists pelted stones at shops which were open, injuring a passer-by. Police used water canon multiple times when hundreds of agitators, who marched towards the office of Accountant General near the Secretariat here, tried to jump over the barricades.

Despite repeated requests by police to disperse, the protesters, including women, squatted on the road raising slogans against the CAA and the union government. Widespread incidents of stone-pelting on state-run KSRTC buses were reported across the state, especially in the districts of Kollam, Palakkad, Ernakulam, Wayanad, Kozhikode and Kannur.

School and University examinations scheduled for Tuesday have not been postponed, but students of the College of Engineering in Thiruvananthapuram protested and boycotted examinations as many could not reach the college on time.

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