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UDF hartal affects normal lives in Thiruvananthapuram

UDF hartal affects normal lives in Thiruvananthapuram

Thiruvananthapuram: Normal life was on Wednesday was affected by a dawn-to-dusk hartal called in the district by opposition UDF protesting the police action against Youth Congress activists, agitating over the private medical college fees and admission issue.

Stray ‘minor’ incidents of violence such as stone pelting were reported in parts of the district, police said adding there was no casualty. Police had yesterday made a lathicharge and burst teargas after a march taken out by the YC activists over the fees hike in private medical colleges turned violent.

Shops and business establishments remained closed and the public transport was hit. Functioning of the education institutions was also badly affected, while government offices here reported thin attendance.

Police said the protesters briefly blocked the official vehicle in which state Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac was travelling in the city. They were removed from the scene immediately. Incidents of stone pelting by hartal supporters were reported in some parts of the district especially in Parassala and Kattakkada, police said.

There were also complaints that hartal supporters forcibly tried to shut down shops, leading to tension in certain pockets. Youth Congress is on war path for the last one week with its President and Vice President-Dean Kuriakose and C R Mahesh-holding an indefinite fast in front of the state Secretariat here.

The marches, taken out by the activists of YC and Kerala Students Union, turned violent in many parts of the state especially in the capital since the leaders began the stir. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s remarks in the Assembly that those who showed blackflags against him as part of the protest were not YC activists but somebody hired by TV channels had infuriated the protesters and they have stepped up the agitation.

The fasting YC leaders were shifted to the Medical College hospital here yesterday after they complained of uneasiness when a teargas shell hurled by police burst near their protest venue. Congress demanded scrapping of the agreement, entered between CPI(M)-led LDF government and self financing private medical college managements, holding that it had resulted in exorbitant fees hike.

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