Thiruvananthapuram, Sept 23: A Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus was vandalised as sporadic incidents of violence were reported in various parts of Kerala as the dawn-to-dusk hartal called by radical Islamic outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) was underway in the southern state on Friday.
In Thiruvananthapuram, one auto-rickshaw and a car were damaged allegedly by people supporting the state-wise bandh.
The hartal was called by the PFI to protest against the raids in the offices and residences of its leaders and their subsequent arrests on Thursday by the NIA and other agencies for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country, a charge rubbished by the outfit as a blatant lie.
Local media reported that a petrol bomb was hurled at a vehicle which was carrying newspapers for distribution at Narayanpara in Kannur in the morning. In Alappuzha, KSRTC buses, a tanker lorry and some other vehicles got damaged in the stone pelting allegedly by those supporting the hartal call.
A 15-year-old girl and an auto-rickshaw driver suffered minor injuries in the stone pelting allegedly by PFI activists in Kozhikode and Kannur respectively. Meanwhile, Kerala police beefed up security in the state and issued directions to the district police chiefs to ensure law and order after the PFI called for a day-long state-wide hartal.
A statement issued by the police said stern action will be taken against those who violate the law. "All the policemen in the state will be deployed for the maintenance of law and order," the statement said. The PFI on Thursday had said a hartal will be observed in the state today "against the RSS-controlled fascist government's attempt to silence dissenting voices using the central agencies".
The hartal would be held from 6 am to 6 pm, A Abdul Sathar, state general secretary, PFI, had said in the statement.
On Thursday, PFI workers had taken out marches to the places where raids were carried out and raised slogans against the Centre and its investigating agencies. However, central forces were already deployed in all such places as part of strengthening security. Multi-agency teams spearheaded by the NIA had arrested 106 functionaries of the PFI on Thursday in near-simultaneous raids at 93 locations in 15 states for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country.
Kerala, where PFI has some strong pockets, accounted for the maximum number of 22 arrests, officials said. PFI state president C P Mohammed Basheer, national chairman O M A Salam, national secretary Nasaruddin Elamaram, former chairman E Abubacker and others were among those arrested.