Forced closure of shops, institutions and forcefully blocking people from their activities can get six months imprisonment and Rs 10000 fine, if found guilty as per the bill

Will there be hartals against Keralas Hartal Regulation Bill
news Thursday, October 01, 2015 - 17:13

It’s always been Kerala's Achilles heel. The bandhs, that later metamorphosed into hartals which have crippled the state's economy to a large extent over the years.

While a shutdown was mostly the Left's way of politics, the phenomenon has spread to all parties including the Congress and even the BJP.

But in a move that gives hope to many Keralites who detest hartals, the Home Minister of the state Ramesh Chennithala has called for consultations on a Hartal Regulation Bill.

In his recent Facebook post, Chennithala explains what this proposed bill is all about.

According to the proposed bill, anyone who calls for a hartal would have to intimate the same three days prior through media and if the situation turns violent then the government would have the right to forbid the announced hartal.

“Forced closure of shops, institutions and forcefully blocking people from their activities can get six months imprisonment and Rs 10000 fine, if found guilty as per the bill,” Chennithala writes.

“Police should make sure that citizens are allowed to move around peacefully on hartal days. Any failure to do that can invite severe action against the concerned police officers,” he wrote.

The Minister has asked people’s suggestion and opinion regarding the proposed bill.

Though there were isolated campaigns against hartals in Kerala for the last several years, we have witnessed organized and well-planned campaigns against hartals only in the last few years. 

Say No to Hartal, one of the pioneer organizations formed against hartals in 2010 have welcomed the new proposal by the home department but have expressed their concern over the proposed act that it should not be confined to hartals alone because even though the Kerala High Court has banned bandhs, the state has been conducting the same using other names.

“Since 2010 we have been fighting for the same. This can be a very positive move but don’t limit it to hartals only so that next day somebody will call a shutdown with some other name, like what happened after banning ‘bandh’,” Raju P Nair, founder of Say No To Hartal says.

Nair said that the proposed act needs to be implemented properly. 

“Implementation is very important. There are many High Court orders regulating the activities of Hartal but nobody is bothered about that. So irrespective of which political party calls for a hartal, the acts should be implemented democratically,” Nair who is himself a Congressman said.

Nair also added that a law to put an end to troublesome hartals was a necessity for the common man in Kerala.

However Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee President VM Sudheeran told The News Minute that it is just a bill now and it needs more and more inputs before making it into a law.

“Inputs from public, organisations, political parties and institutions are needed to make it into an act. We have kept it open for improvisation.  An act against hartals is a necessity for the public here, so we should bring it at the earliest,” Sudheeran said. He also added that his party completely agrees with it and welcomes the drive against Kerala’s hartals.

The Kerala government has announced its intention, we sure hope there won't be hartals against the hartal bill.



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