Shutdown to protest Kathua rape hits life in Kerala, many arrested

Kozhikode (Kerala), April 16 : A shutdown called by a section of social media users against the rape and murder of a girl in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua hit normal life in several parts of the state.

The worst-affected districts included Kozhikode, Kannur, Malappuram, Palakkad and parts of Thiruvanathapuram.

Police took several protesters into custody, while the Bharatiya Janata Party state unit petitioned the state police chief to take action against the protesters.

The situation turned tense in about three coastal hamlets in Malappuram, forcing the district administration to promulgate prohibitory orders, with immediate effect, for a week to prevent assembly of people.

What began as a campaign in the social media on Sunday against the brutality led to a shutdown with angry demonstrators, some shouting anti-RSS slogans, blocking traffic and forcing shops to shut, including a major shopping mall in the state capital.

Buses and other vehicles were stopped from plying on Monday morning.

However, traffic resumed after police chased away the protesters.

In Kozhikode, Malappuram, Kannur and Palakkad, police took some of the protesters into custody.

In Kannur district, the protesters and some shop-keepers engaged in a war of words.

The youths have been identified as members of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), the political wing of the Popular Front of India.

The areas affected by the shutdown are known strongholds of the SDPI, including the suburbs of the capital district.

Government offices and banks in the affected areas opened later in the day.

On Monday evening, a delegation of state BJP leaders called on the state police chief Loknath Behra and demanded strict action be taken against those who created a tense situation in several parts of the state.

"The government and the police failed to act even after knowing that there was going to be a shutdown by a terror group and this clearly shows that police and the protesters were hand in glove as police remained a mute spectator to the violence unleashed by them.

This has to be probed and strict action be taken," said state BJP spokesperson M.S.Kumar in he state capital after handing the official complaint to this by the state BJP president Kummanem Rajasekheran.



Source: IANS