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Kerala Hartal: Exams Postponed, Bus Services Hit as Dalits Take to Streets

One person was injured in stone pelting and more than 100 persons were taken into custody on Monday in connection with the dawn-to-dusk hartal organised by Dalit outfits to condemn the police atrocities during Dalit protests held across north India last week.

Chandrakanth Viswanath | News18

Updated:April 9, 2018, 12:06 PM IST
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Kerala Hartal: Exams Postponed, Bus Services Hit as Dalits Take to Streets
Members of Dalit community organisations staging protest in Thiruvananthapuram over SC/ST Act issue on April 9, 2018.

Thiruvananthapuram: One person was injured in stone pelting and more than 100 persons were taken into custody on Monday in connection with the dawn-to-dusk hartal organised by Dalit outfits to condemn the police atrocities during Dalit protests held across north India last week.

A driver of state RTC was injured in the stone pelting at Valappad near Thrissur.

In various parts of the state, the hartal supporters have blocked the bus services as the KSRTC and private buses were on the road.

The KSRTC had sought the support of police to conduct its services. The Kerala Private Bus Operators Federation also had said it cannot stop bus services on account of the hartal. In a circular issued by KSRTC managing director A Hemachandran, the corporation had asked all its employees to be present on the day.

Workers of Youth League, the youth wing of Muslim league came in support of the hartal and took initiative to close down shops at Kozhikode.

Muslim league has decided to extend support for the hartal stating "those opposing the hartal are supporters of discrimination on the basis of caste and have a feudal attitude".

Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala and BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan have expressed solidarity to the hartal, while CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran said “everybody has the right to organise hartals” and “it is natural to take those who organise it”.

All exams scheduled to be held on Monday by the Kerala University, Calicut University, MG University have been postponed owing to the hartal.

This is the first statewide hartal in the state in 2018, even as 27 local hartals were held in various parts of the state in the first 99 days of the year. However, the general strike on April 2 too had turned into a hartal. There were 128 hartals in 2017, in various parts of the state, according to ‘Say No to Hartal', a group campaigning against hartals.

It has to be noted that the Hartals became a euphemism for bandhs after the High court banned it in 1997.

Incidentally, this is the first statewide hartal called by the Dalit organisations in the state after the one on February 22, 2003, in protest against the violence and firing in Muthanga wildlife sanctuary which killed two tribals, including a policeman.

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| Edited by: Ashutosh Tripathi
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