Shops were shut down and vehicles were stopped in parts of Kerala in the name of a hartal on Monday morning against the rape of an eight-year-old in Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir.
The hartal, which was called for by social media groups, has hit normal life in the northern districts of Kerala. In Kasaragode, services of the Kerala Road Transport Corporation were affected.
In districts like Kasaragode, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Palakkad, supporters of the hartal stopped vehicles at several places and forcefully shut down shops. A hotel owner in Kasaragode told the media that all of a sudden, as many as 20 people rushed to the shop and demanded that he shut it.
Stones were hurled at the marketplaces of Kottakkakam and Chalai in Thiruvananthapuram, and shop owners were forced to down their shutters.
â€śThe police have traced those posts and have taken necessary steps to prevent any untoward incidents. Though it is not a particular group which has called for the hartal, people who are part of many other groups are supporting it. In northern districts, additional police personnel were deployed to deal with the situation. Yet, it has an impact on the northern districts. Step will also be taken against those who would try to take law in to hand,â€ť police sources said.
The public, however, who were unaware of the hartal call, began the day as usual. Several supporters of the hartal took out a march in Thiruvananthapuram and districts in north Kerala.
Actor Parvathy, in an Instagram live, also alerted people. â€śProtests have been taking places near Kozhikode airport at Chemmad, Chettipidi, Tanurâ€¦ roads are being blocked. In fact there are not protests, but abuse. In the name of protest against the rape the vehicle of many passengers are being blocked and they are being abused,â€ť she said.
Sally Kannan, a member of Humane Society International in Thrissur, in a Facebook post, said:
â€śI don't understand the logic of angry mobs burning tyres in the middle of the road and attacking vehicles in Malappuram to protest against the baby girl raped and murdered in Kashmir. How can hurting the public here do any help to the poor child? An old man almost fell off the steps of a bus as the passengers were forcefully made to get down, crowds stopping vehicles and using extremely abusive language. Is this how people plan on getting justice for a murdered child? Most of the protesters will be getting paid by their political parties and wouldn't even care if this little girl or any other was raped or not and would be just joining in for the thrill of destroying public property and being morons. Human beings are strange indeed and I feel happy that I spend most of my time with animals than humans!!!.â€ť
On Sunday, the state joined the nationwide protest demanding justice against the heinous crimes that took place at Kathua and Unnao.