PFI protests turn violent in Kerala: Vehicles, shops, buses damaged; around 500 arrested | Top points

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Image Source : PTI State police said that it had registered 157 cases and recorded 170 arrests while 368 have been kept under preventive detention.

PFI raids: Violent protests broke out in parts of Kerala making normal life hard for the citizens as masked men and miscreants went on a rampage in different parts of the state on Friday during the dawn-to-dusk hartal called by the Popular Front of India (PFI) . The outfit is currently under the lens for alleged terror activities, damaging state-run buses and ambulances, injuring policemen and commoners and vandalising shops and threatening the public. The Kerala High Court took cognizance on its own, the “illegal” hartal and initiated a case saying the flash protest was prima facie a contempt of court as it violated a 2019 HC order on such agitations.

Here are 10 top developments from Kerala

  1. The violent incidents affected normal life in many parts of the southern state, a day after the National Investigation Agency led multi-agency pan-India raids against PFI, accused of being a radical Islamist outfit, arresting over 100 persons.
  2. The court, which said holding hartals were banned by it earlier, also directed the state administration to take stern action against those who violate the court order banning hartals.
  3. Cutting across cities towns, hartal supporters took out protest marches, burnt tires on roads, blocked vehicles and forcefully downed the shutters of shops in various places. Face-covering gangs unleashed violence and attacked shops in Kozhikode, Kottayam and Ernakulam districts.
  4. Kerala State Road Transport buses, freight lorries and airport vehicles were widely attacked and pelted with stones across the state. An ambulance was not spared from stone-pelting in Thrissur district, causing concern. At least 70 KSRTC buses were damaged with their windscreens smashed and seats damaged. Over 10 of its employees suffered injuries in the stone pelting and related incidents, official sources said. The state-run corporation told the High Court that it suffered a loss of Rs 45 lakh.
  5. The KSRTC management put out a Facebook post against the attack on its buses, and the drivers could be seen plying the vehicles wearing helmets in many places to escape from the stone pelting.Besides KSRTC employees, police personnel, some bus and lorry drivers and commuters suffered injuries in various incidents.
  6. In Erattupetta town of Kottayam district, police had to resort to lathi-charge to disperse activists supporting the hartal when they tried to block vehicles after gathering in large numbers, closed the shops and threatened people who were traveling in private vehicles. A hartal supporter allegedly hit two police personnel, who were on patrolling duty, with his motorcycle when they tried to stop him from abusing commuters at Pallimukku in Kollam. Though he managed to escape from the spot, a manhunt was on to nab him, police said.
  7. Local media reported that a petrol bomb was hurled at a vehicle which was carrying newspapers for distribution at Narayanpara and a country-made bomb was thrown at a local BJP office in Mattannoor by unidentified persons- both in Kannur district.
  8. In Kannur, a group of PFI activists were beaten up by local people when they tried to forcefully down the shutters of shops. 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, Following PFI’s hartal call on Thursday, the state police chief had given directions to beef up security across Kerala and to take stern action against those who violate the law. However, there were complaints that police did not act swiftly in many places when miscreants tried to block vehicles and forcefully shut down the shops on Friday.
  9. State police said that it had registered 157 cases and recorded 170 arrests while 368 have been kept under preventive detention. While Kannur city police registered 28 cases, the highest in the state, followed by Thiruvananthapuram with 12 and Pathanamthitta and Kottayam with 11 each. Meanwhile, Kottayam recorded the maximum number of arrests–87, followed by Wayand with 22 arrests and Malappuram with 19 arrests. Kannur city has 49 persons under preventive detention. BJP state chief K Surendran on Friday said during the hartal called by the PFI, even ambulances were not spared.
  10. The PFI on Thursday had said a hartal will be observed in the state today “against the RSS-controlled fascist government’s attempt to silence dissenting voices using the central agencies”. 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 CP Mohammed Basheer, national chairman OMA Salam, national secretary Nasaruddin Elamaram, former chairman E Abubacker and others were among those arrested.

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