The 12-hour shutdown called by the BJP on Thursday to protest against the murder of its party worker crippled normal life in the state amid stray incidents of violence.
In Palakkad, three CPI(M) workers were injured when they resisted BJP workers’ move to close down commercial establishments. Similarly, in Thiruvananthapuram, at least nine persons were hospitalised after a clash between CPI(M) and BJP workers.
Governor Justice Sathasivam also expressed serious concern over the recurring political murders in the state. Seven persons have lost their lives in Kannur since the Pinarayi Vijayan government took over four months back.
While shops and establishments remained closed, attendances in various government and private establishments were thin as public and private transport and buses remained off the road.
Commuters arriving at railway stations were stranded as public transport was unavailable.
Despite the shutdown, Vijayan’s cabinet held its routine weekly meeting at the state secretariat where security was stepped up.
Both at the Indian Space Research Organisation centre and Technopark campus, the police were deployed in numbers to ensure the safety of the employees and of the campus. As many private firms allowed their workers to work from home, “the overall attendance was not like on usual working days,” an IT official said.
Although two-wheelers and private vehicles were seen plying around in urban areas, the picture was different in the rural localities.
Remith was hacked to death by an alleged group of CPI(M) workers in front of his house barely 500 metres away from the CM’s residence in Pinarayi on Wednesday. The latest killing was an apparent retaliation for the murder of a CPI(M) activist five days ago.
The 20-year-old was the son of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliate Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh leader Uthaman who was also a victim of political violence in 2002.
The police have registered a case against 10 people and identified the vehicle used in the crime.
Meanwhile, the Centre on Thursday sought a report from the Kerala government on the matter. In a communication, the home ministry has asked the state government to provide details of the incident and steps taken to nab and punish those responsible for the crime.