A group of Popular Front of India (PFI) activists were beaten up by local people when they tried to forcefully down the shutters of shops here as part of the hartal called by their outfit in the state on Friday. Angry local people reacted strongly when the protesters asked them to close the shops, beat them up and handed one of them to the police at the Central Bazar in Payyannur in this politically-volatile northern district.
In the visuals aired by local television channels, it could be seen that one of the hartal supporters was beaten up by a group of local people, who chased him when he tried to run away and handed him over to the police later. A policeman could be seen taking him in an autorickshaw in the visuals.
According to local people, the incident happened when a group of PFI workers rushed to the bazaar area knowing that some of the shops were open. Besides the shoppers and local people, those belonging to other political parties also said to have joined in the bid to check the PFI workers’ attempt to close the shops.
At least four people were reportedly under the custody of Payyannur police in connection with the incident. Sporadic incidents of violence were reported in various parts of southern state during the hartal called by the radical Islamic outfit.
The hartal was called by the PFI to protest against the raids in the offices and residences of its leaders and their subsequent arrests on Thursday by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and other agencies for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country.