Kerala (VSK). Sporadic incidents of violence were reported in various parts of Kerala as the dawn-to-dusk hartal called by radical Islamic outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) was underway in the southern state on Friday.
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 NIA and other agencies for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country.
Stones were pelted at Kerala State Road Transport Corporation buses (KSRTC) in various districts including Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kozhikode, Wayanad, and Alappuzha.
Local media reported that a petrol bomb was hurled at a vehicle which was carrying newspapers for distribution at Narayanpara in Kannur in the morning.
In Alappuzha, KSRTC buses, a tanker lorry and some other vehicles got damaged in the stone pelting allegedly by those supporting the hartal call.
A 15-year-old girl and an auto-rickshaw driver suffered minor injuries in the stone pelting allegedly by PFI activists in Kozhikode and Kannur respectively.
Meanwhile, Kerala police beefed up security in the state and issued directions to the district police chiefs to ensure law and order after the PFI called for a day-long state-wide hartal.
A statement issued by the police said stern action will be taken against those who violate the law.
‘All the policemen in the state will be deployed for the maintenance of law and order,’ the statement said.
On Thursday, PFI workers had taken out marches to the places where raids were carried out and raised slogans against the Centre and its investigating agencies.
However, central forces were already deployed in all such places as part of strengthening the security. Kerala, where PFI has some strong pockets, accounted for the maximum number of 22 arrests, officials said.
PFI state president C P Mohammed Basheer, national chairman O M A Salam, national secretary Nasaruddin Elamaram, former chairman E Abubacker and others were among those arrested.
Video of KSRTC driver wearing helmet to protect himself from stone pelting
A video of a KSRTC driver wearing a helmet and driving a bus has gone viral on social media on Friday. The person in the visuals is identified as a driver from the KSRTC depot in Aluva.
Meanwhile, similar visuals are shared from various parts of the state as well. With hartal turning violent and KSRTC buses getting vandalised by protesters, many KSRTC drivers have opted for helmets as a safety means to avoid getting injured.
In Kozhikode, a KSRTC driver suffered injuries to his eyes after protesters hurled stones at the windshield of the bus. Meanwhile, High Court has taken a suo moto case against hartal announced by the Popular Front of India in Kerala.