violate the court order banning hartals. It asked the government to use all possible means to stop any form of violence.
Several incidents of vandalism and violence have been reported across the state amid PFI’s call for a hartal. Stones were pelted at Kerala State Road Transport Corporation buses (KSRTC) in various districts including Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kozhikode, Wayanad, and Alappuzha. Two civilian police officers were allegedly attacked by PFI protestors and have been taken to hospital for treatment.
Apart from the damage to property, a few of the KSRTC staff members also reportedly suffered injuries in the violent incidents. Even private vehicles were not spared and in the state’s capital at a Muslim strong hold area, the agitators waylaid and attacked a car en route to the airport to drop people at the airport to catch an international flight.
The dawn-to-dusk 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.
A statement issued by Kerala police had 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.
The transport corproation said special services to hospitals, airports and railway stations will be arranged if necessary and will also seek police protection, if needed. PFI on Thursday had said a hartal will be observed in the state on September 23 “against the RSS-controlled fascist government’s attempt to silence dissenting voices using the central agencies.” The hartal would be held from 6 AM to 6 PM, A Abdul Sathar, state general secretary, PFI, had said in the statement.
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.
Multi-agency teams spearheaded by the NIA had arrested 106 functionaries of the PFI on Thursday in near simultaneous raids at 93 locations in 15 states for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country. 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.
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