Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday expressed his wish that the tourism industry in the state be exempted from shutdowns, just like the way hospitals, milk and the newspapers are allowed to function, his office said.
He made this call in his weekly TV programme while taking part in a discussion with the industry honchos in the state, according to the Chief Minister's Office.
"Even though in a democracy, calling a shutdown is an accepted form of protest, in the overall interest of the tourism industry - as a shutdown brings troubles for visiting tourists - it would be a good idea that the shutdown organisers exempt them from it," said Vijayan.
Shutdowns are a regular phenomenon in the state and throw normal life out of gear. Even though the Kerala High Court has brought out more rules to prevent them from affecting normal life, the law enforcers are yet to act, giving enough ammunition for political parties and even social organisations to call for one, at the drop of a hat.
Apart from a state-wide shutdown, there are now district levels and even village councils shutdowns being held to express protests.
Strikes are bandhs are quite the norm in Kerala, which has already seen at least three shutdowns in this year.
On April 9, various Dalit groups in Kerala had held a dawn-to-dusk hartal across the state to protest the injustice meted out to them due to dilution of the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act by the Supreme Court.
Just a week earlier on April 2, a joint forum of trade unions had called for a 24-hour general strike to protest against the union governmentâ€™s decision to end fixed-tenure employment.
In January this year, major trade unions had called for a dawn-to-dusk vehicle bandh to protest against the rising petrol and diesel prices across the state.
(With inputs from IANS)