While the United Democratic Front (UDF) has appealed to people to cooperate with the hartal it declared for Monday, the state government is prepared to act tough in case of any untoward incidents.
The UDF called for the hartal to protest against the union and state government’s anti-people policies, and the hike in the price of petrol and cooking gas.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that stern action will be taken against those who prevent vehicles from plying, who forcefully shut down shops, or threaten to stop those who turn up for work.
He added that security for people will be ensured, and that the police chief has been directed accordingly.
"Ample protection will be given for KSRTC and private buses and private vehicles. There will be police protection for the smooth functioning of offices and courts. Strict action will be taken against those who resort to atrocities," he said in a Facebook post.
State Police Chief Loknath Behera has also said that strict measures have taken to ensure people's safety on the day of the hartal- "Direction has been given to district police chiefs to take strict action against attempts to destroy public property."
"Patrolling and picketing would start from the night itself at required places to avoid any untoward incidents. Police have been asked to be cautious at places which are prone to atrocities till the hartal ends. The use of loudspeakers won’t be allowed," Behera said in a statement.
“Those who engage in atrocities will be booked using proper sections. Action will be taken to file civil suit if public property and assets are damaged," the statement said.
UDF convener PP Thankachan appealed the people to cooperate with the hartal. "We intend the hartal to be peaceful," Thankachan said in a statement.