Following incidents of vandalism at the offices of the BJP in Kerala, allegedly by Left parties, a dawn-to-dusk hartal called by the BJP in Thiruvananthapuram started on Thursday morning. The hartal was also called for at the Cherthala Municipality of Alappuzha district, since the Bharat Mazdoor Sangh office at Cherthala was also attacked earlier.
The hartal follows a series of incidents which had yet again intensified the tensions between the ruling Left parties and the BJP in the state.
The BJPâ€™s office in the state capital was attacked hours after alleged right-wing activists heckled CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury at the AKG Bhavan in Delhi on Wednesday. The Sanghâ€™s labour affiliate was also attacked in Cherthala.
There was a huge protest march organised by the CPI (M) in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday evening against the attempt to manhandle Yechury. CPI(M) workers also destroyed the flex boards and flags of BJP and BMS during the protest march.
Clashes were reported between the CPI(M) and BJP workers in various parts of the state. BJP offices in Kottayam district were also attacked.
According to the police, unidentified persons hurled a petrol-bomb into the BJP office in Thiruvananthapuram, located near Statue Junction around 9.15 pm on Wednesday. They damaged windowpanes of the building and a few chairs. No one was injured in the attack as party workers and office functionaries had left by then, reports The Hindu.
The BJP district leadership accused the CPI(M) of being behind attacks in retaliation for the assault on Sitaram Yechury.
But CPI(M) district secretary Anavoor Nagappan denied party workersâ€™ role in the attack. He blamed the BJP saying that they had cooked up the incident to divert attention from the widespread protest over the attack on Yechury. He also warned party workers to remain vigilant against the BJP campaign, the report says.
The BJP had also called on for a hartal in Kottayam district from dawn-to-dusk in May, in protest against the attack on two of its workers.
There have already been nearly 20 hartals in Kerala this year, of which at least nine were called for by the BJP.