A dawn-to-dusk strike called in Kerala on Friday by the Popular Front of India (PFI) turned violent in many places as strike supporters stoned KSRTC buses, disrupting traffic and affecting normal life.
The agitators pelted stones on several state-owned KSRTC buses in places including Malappuram, Palakkad, Kozhikode, Kannur, Perumbavoor, Pandalam, Pathanamthitta, Kattakada and Thiruvananthapuram.
Private buses stopped services in Malappuram, Kozhikode, Ernakulam and many other districts due to lack of police protection. However, private cars, jeeps and autorickshaws plied in some places.
In many districts including Malappuram, Palakkad, Ernakulam, Kannur and Kozhikode, many shops and other private institutions remained closed fearing violence.
The PFI called for the strike on Friday in Kerala protesting against the arrest of PFI leaders in the state and in the country by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday.
“The arrests were part of a hidden agenda of the RSS-controlled fascist Central government,” PFI state media coordinator A Abdul Sattar said in a statement.
“The Central agencies are used for silencing dissenting voices. All democratic believers should come forward to support the strike against the fascist regime that tramples Constitutional values and civil rights.”
Meanwhile, Kerala police chief Anil Kant directed all police officers to end the violence linked to the strike.
He added that police protection was being ensured for the functioning of government offices, banks, other institutions and KSRTC buses.
He called for strong action against those who indulge in violence and destroy public properties.