At a time when various sections of society are peacefully protesting against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the hartal in Kerala witnessed sporadic incidents of violence, mostly instigated by the hartal supporters.
While many organisations that are part of the hartal set buses ablaze and pelted stones, a few members of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) blocked a couple, who was reportedly taking their sick child to a hospital in a car. The incident took place at Mallappally in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala on Tuesday afternoon.
When the members blocked the couple’s car, the man in the car, who has been identified as Arun, started recording the incident. On seeing Arun recording, one of the SDPI members can be heard saying, “You can take photo, video or whatever you want.” Then, another young member can be seen brazenly announcing, “Don’t try to intimidate us with videos.”
Even as the hartal supporters were blocking the vehicle, the child, who was sitting on the mother’s lap, can be heard crying.
According to Asianet, a group of protesters gathered in front of the car. When the couple requested that they be allowed to pass as their child was unwell, a few stepped away while about five members refused to step away.
The police then reached the spot and moved the SDPI members. The couple's car was blocked for almost 15 minutes before they finally managed to leave, reports Asianet.
The hartal on Tuesday was called by a few Muslim and Dalit organisations in the state, to oppose the CAA. However, the major political parties decided to stay away from the hartal as they disagreed with the issue being presented as something that would affect only certain communities. Besides, many parties did not want to associate with SDPI’s brand of politics.
The hartal on Tuesday was called by around 40 organisations, including the Welfare Party, Porattam, Dalit Human Rights Movement and BSP, among others.
More than 200 people from various districts have been detained in connection with the hartal. Stones were pelted at a state-owned bus from Velankanni in Tamil Nadu in Walayar, Palakkad, around 3 am. Around five buses in Kollam were vandalised, protesters blocked the highway near the railway station and a police official in Kannur district was manhandled.