Skirmishes in Kerala on first day of strike due to needless provocations, says CPI(M) supremo

BL Thiruvananthapuram Bureau | | Updated on: Mar 29, 2022
 Kodiyeri Balakrishnan

 Kodiyeri Balakrishnan | Photo Credit: S_K_MOHAN ;S_K_MOHAN -

Response to ‘dies-non’ on striking government employees keenly watched

Kerala State Secretary of the CPI(M), Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, has said that untoward incidents during the first day of the general strike on Monday were the result of needless provocations to which some of the protesters were forced to react.

Balakrishnan singled out such incidents as being reported only from those places where vehicles drove contemptuously in front of striking activists with a view to provoking them. Such acts needed to be avoided in the interest of all.

Increased participation

The general strike is already inviting unprecedented participation from the general public, he said here. Workers are not any more confining themselve to their homestead on strike days. This is a seminal change from the past, he added.

Meanwhile, the second day of the strike by central trade unions saw protesters grouping themselves before the Lulu Mall here and preventing staff from entering the premises, even as response to government employees to a ‘dies-non’ is keenly watched.

The Lulu Mall here and in Kochi were islands of normalcy while smaller shops and establishments were forcibly shuttered down on the first day of the strike, inviting media criticism why protesters grow cold feet while dealing with ‘the big league.’

Acting on directions from the High Court, the State government had declared a dies-non late on Monday, which means that pay for unauthorised absence of employees participating in the strike will be withheld from the salary for the month of April.

Prosecution warned of

Persons indulging in violence or destruction of public property will be prosecuted. Provisions recruits in government service who absent themselves without sanction during the strike days will be removed from service, the government order said.

District collectors, heads of departments and district police chiefs have been directed to give protection to those not on strike, ensure unhindered access to government offices/institutions, and avoid over-crowding at the gates of offices.

No leave of any kind shall be granted to government employees and teachers for the strike days except under specified exceptions. The first day of the strike on Monday saw only 32 of the 4,828 staff at the Government Secretariat here report for duty.

Traders’ collective, the Kerala Vyapari-Vyavasai Ekopana Samithi, had announced that more shops and establishments will be opened on Tuesday, but has already run into stiff resistance from protesters at many places in Kozhikode district.

Shops forcibly shut

Shops had to shut down at Karanthoor, Kunnamangalam and Anddikode in the district. At least 20 shops have pulled down their shutters in Kunnamangalam alone this morning. A petrol pump was forcibly closed down at Karanthoor.

Public utility Kerala State Road Transport Corporation has not yet restored operations on Tuesday morning. Monday had witnessed skirmishes at many places as strikers did not even allow private vehicles to take to the roads.

Published on March 29, 2022
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