Kochi: A shutdown was observed on Wednesday in Punalur, southern Kerala, after Communist Party of India (CPI) and Bharatiya Janata Party workers clashed over a ‘Punch Modi challenge’ organised by the former on Tuesday.

Some CPI members in Anchal, near Punalur, had on Tuesday organised an event to symbolically punch effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, against the backdrop of broken promises given by his party and the steep rise in fuel prices.

BJP workers took umbrage to the CPI’s protest, saying it was akin to disgracing the prime minister of the country, and clashed with the CPI workers.

The two sides also pelted stones, and a circle inspector of police, Binu Varghese was reportedly injured.

Later on Tuesday night, police took into custody CPI leader Liju Jamal, prompting CPI workers and the volunteers of its youth wing, the All India Youth Front, to lay siege to the Punalur police station.

The protesters called for a hartal (shutdown strike) in Punalur on Wednesday, leading to many commercial establishments being shut. Vehicular movement was not affected.