DYFI hooligans harass commons during bandh
Kerala responds with hartal
Sunday December 31 2006 10:36 IST
T’PURAM: The impromptu hartal called by political parties in the state barely hours after former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was hanged on Saturday caught the public on the wrong foot.
All the major parties - barring the BJP - announced hartals from 3 p m to 6 p m - in one voice. Dharnas and marches against the “imperialist arrogance” marked the hartal.
The abrupt call for hartal by political parties, who were cribbing over issues nearer home over the past few weeks, hit normal life. Shops had to hastily down shutters and trade across the state was hit in a big way.
The Kerala Vyapari-Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi has put the rough estimate of losses due to the hartal around Rs 50 crore.
Local DYFI leaders organised a blockade by laying boulders across the main road at Pulloorkonam near Kovalam. Locals and tourists were caught in the blockade for nearly an hour. The situation was brought under control after police arrived at the spot.
Tension prevailed at Alummoodu, Neyyatinkara, after hartal loyalists assaulted a few women selling fish.
In Thiruvananthapuram, the majority of the shops downed shutters by afternoon. Dharnas and marches were taken out in many places including Bheemapalli and Chakka. Political organisations burned American President George Bush in effigy in many places.
Police have tightened security across the state, especially at tourist centres, police officials said.
Stating that the “American imperialism has raised a grim challenge to the world peace once again through the execution of Saddam Hussein,” Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan said the Iraqi leader would be remembered forever as a martyr who heroically fought the imperialist interests.
“It is deplorable that the heinous act was carried out when the Muslims worldwide were preparing for Bakrid,” he said.
Through its act, America had once again demonstrated that it cared little for world peace and the sentiments of the majority of the humanity, he said.