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Political murder brings Kerala to a standstill

Strike called following the killing of a BJP worker

Gulf News

Thiruvananthapuram: Retaliatory political killings in Kerala brought the state to another day of standstill on Thursday, following a hartal (strike) call by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The strike was called following the murder of BJP worker. K.P. Remith, 29, at Pinarayi, the native village of state chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, on Wednesday.

Remith’s murder is considered to be a retaliatory killing following the murder of a branch secretary of the Communist Party of India Marxist, K.P. Mohan two days earlier.

Over the four months since the Left Democratic Front came to power in Kerala, as many as seven political murders have taken place in Kannur district alone. Remith’s murder happened in Dharmadom, the assembly constituency from which Pinarayi Vijayan was elected in May. Remith’s father, K.P. Uthaman had been hacked to death in 2002, after being dragged out of a moving bus. Remith leaves behind his mother and a sister.

The strike call brought nearly the entire state to a standstill, affecting the work of offices, restaurants, commercial establishments and other services. Those arriving in the state from outside were put to considerable inconvenience.

Many incidents of violence were reported during the strike from different parts of the state. Unusually, the strike supporters also attacked journalists who were doing ground-level reporting.

Correspondents of Kerala Kaumudi and United News of India were attacked, and the strikers also destroyed camera and other equipment of journalists.

At several places, autorickshaws that were plying passengers were stopped, and in the capital city, an ambulance was attacked. Universities in the state rescheduled exams, and schools and colleges remained closed.

Reports of violence came from the northern districts of the state and also from Thrissur, Cherthala, Ernakulam and Pala. One report said strike supporters pelted stones at a vehicle carrying a passenger from Muscat who had landed at the Kozhikode airport and was travelling to Thalassery.