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Kerala: BJP-RSS hartal turns violent, bombs hurled in Kannur

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The day-long hartal called by RSS in Kerala on Tuesday to protest murder of an activist of the outfit in Kannur district turned violent in many parts of the state disrupting normal life.

Thousands were stranded at bus and railway stations across the state as buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws were kept off the roads.

Across the state, shops, businesses and markets were deserted. The state government had declared a holiday for educational institutions, including professional colleges and universities, and postponed examinations scheduled for the day. Attendance in government offices was said to be thin.

In Kannur district, where the murder took place, bombs of low intensity were hurled at shops in Adoor Palam, Moonuperiya and Peralassery. However, no one was injured. In Moonuperiya, locals captured those who hurled the bombs.

RSS-BJP supporters forcefully closed the Kannur University office. Few media persons were also manhandled in the district. Three CPM branch committee offices in the district and a memorial of late LDF leader and former chief minister EK Nayanar were pelted with stones on the hartal day.

A bomb was hurled at BJP worker K Jayakrishnan’s house in Chorakulam, Maavilaayi in the district. A bike and the windows of the house were damaged in the attack.

In Chengamanadu of Thrissur district, a youth, who was travelling to his office in Kochi, was beaten up by hartal supporters. He was taken to Karothukuzhi Hospital in Aluva.

The hartal was total in Ernakulam district where the state-owned KSRTC and private buses remained off the road. KSRTC stopped its bus services after reports of stray incidents of stone-pelting emerged. The stir has also hit Kochi Metro works.

Stones were pelted at vehicles in Kakkanad and near South Railway station in Kochi soon after the hartal started at 6 am. The RSS office in Kochi too came under attack by a gang of three persons who came in an auto. The windows of the office were broken in the stone pelting.

A KSRTC bus came under attack in Meenangadi of Wayanad district.

In Kollam district, pro-BJP workers damaged a restaurant owned by a Muslim League leader in Punaloor. Two Yuva Morcha members were captured by the police in connection with the incident.

In Kottayam, Pathanamthitta and Idukki districts, the shutdown has been peaceful and complete.

Incidents of stone-pelting at buses, auto-rickshaws and private vehicles were reported from other districts too. There were also reports of shopkeepers getting injured after they were beaten up by BJP activists in the state.

Hundreds attend Manoj’s funeral

RSS-BJP called for a 12-hour hartal on Tuesday to protest murder of RSS' district Sharirik Pramukh Manoj (42). He was hacked to death by a gang that attacked him in politically-volatile Kathirur in Kannur district in north Kerala on Monday. Two others were injured, one of them seriously, in the attack.

Hundreds of people attended Manoj’s funeral on Tuesday and the body was buried near the RSS office in Kathiroor. Several leaders of RSS and BJP paid last respects when the body was kept for the public to pay homage.