Incidents of stone throwing, mainly on four KSRTC buses and at a hotel near the international airport, were reported in the state-wide dawn-to-dusk hartal called by the Popular Front of India (PFI) on Friday in Ernakulam district.
Police sources said the windscreens of two KSRTC buses were shattered in stone throwing by miscreants on the Aluva-Perumbavoor route and that of a bus each in Aluva and Alangad. A tense situation prevailed all through the day in the district, especially in the city suburbs where the PFI enjoyed considerable support.
Private buses parked at the mobility hub at Vyttila during the hartal called by the Popular Front of India in protest against the nationwide arrest of its leaders by the National Investigation Agency and the Enforcement Directorate. | Photo Credit: THULASI KAKKAT
Five people were also taken into preventive detention in the district in connection with the hartal.
Traffic was blocked at Palluruthy and several other areas by hartal supporters till the police arrived. Attempts to forcibly close shops were thwarted by the police, including on MG Road and Ernakulam North.
All vehicles, barring private buses, operated on arterial roads and highways. Their numbers neared normal by evening. Along with the KSRTC, the Kochi metro, and ferries operated services. There were few takers for KSRTC buses from the Ernakulam bus depot till afternoon, although crew members were kept ready to operate buses depending on demand.
Metro trains and State Water Transport Department (SWTD) ferries operated as per schedule, although footfall was relatively low.
This time around, volunteers of the NGO ‘Say No to Hartal’ had prepared cars and SUVs to ferry stranded passengers from railway stations and bus stands. Its convenor Manoj Ravindran Niraksharan spoke of how there was little demand from commuters, since private vehicles, online taxis, autos, KSRTC buses, and the metro operated as usual from early in the morning, unlike during most other hartals when they take to the roads. post-afternoon.
“We had kept ready a dozen cars, while up to 50 could be mobilized with the help of 150 volunteers,” he said, and took exception to vehicles being diverted to pave the way for hartal supporters who took out rallies, rather than the police. stopping such rallies that were taken out without prior notice.