Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 16 (IANS) A state-wide dawn-to-dusk shutdown on Monday called by the Congress-led UDF in Kerala against the “anti-people policies” of the state and Centre affected normal life, though it was largely peaceful.
Shops remained closed and private buses did not operate. Although the state-owned public transport operated under police security and private vehicles were also seen plying, business establishments were closed in major towns and cities.
The United Democratic Front (UDF) shutdown was called to protest the “anti-people policies” of the Pinarayi Vijayan government in Kerala and the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.
The shutdown was also against the steep price hike of petroleum products and cooking gas.
UDF chairman and Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said the strike was well received and supported by the people.
“The Centre has turned out to be a dismal failure. After 100 days of implementing GST, the end result is that prices have shot up. In Kerala, the state government it appears has declared a ‘development holiday’. In the past nearly 18 months, not a single new project was launched. The general administration has come to a standstill and even the social welfare activities have also stopped,” said Chennithala.
“It’s unfortunate that a section of the media is blowing up things out of proportion. Though the state government did its best to provoke our workers during the day-long shutdown, we remained calm. Minor skirmishes were blown up by the media. We thank the people who supported the protest,” Chennithala told reporters here on Monday evening.
Though by and large the protest went off smoothly, at a few places some protesters tried to create problems and were taken into custody.
In the state capital, buses operating towards Tamil Nadu were found plying. Autorickshaws were also seen on the roads.
Buses of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) units were seen operating under security cover.
Although the IT hubs in Kochi and here were functioning, the markets wore a deserted look.
Attendance in government offices was thin, like in previous shutdowns. Though there were reports that shops and restaurants would be open, that did not happen.
The police in major cities was providing transport facilities, especially to patients at railway and bus stations to reach hospitals.
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