The Kerala High Court on Friday took suo moto cognisanse over the hartal declared by radical Islamic outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) and subsequent sporadic incidents of violence in the state.
The court said hartal was banned by it earlier and the destruction of the public property cannot be accepted, asking the state administration to take stern action against those who violate the court order banning hartals.
Following arrests of over 100 PFI cadres in a multi-agency joint operation led by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday, the organisation has called for a state-wide hartal on Friday to register their protests against the raids and the subsequent arrests.
The dawn-to-dusk hartal from 6 AM- 6 PM by the PFI was “against the RSS-controlled fascist government’s attempt to silence dissenting voices using the central agencies” said A Abdul Sathar, state general secretary of PFI in a statement.
Sporadic incidents of violence were reported in various parts of Kerala as the state-wide hartal is underway, PTI reported. Stones were pelted at Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses in various districts including Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kozhikode, Wayanad, and Alappuzha. The state-run KSRTC had informed that it will operate as usual.
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.
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.
The NIA had called it the “largest investigation” process till date, conducting raids in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, West Bengal, Manipur and Bihar.
Kerala has accounted for the maximum arrests at 22, followed by Maharashtra and Karnataka (20 each).
Kerala police have beefed up security and issued directions to the district police chiefs to ensure law and order in the state.
The NIA, along with the Enforcement directorate and state police had raided 93 locations in 15 states across India for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country. PFI 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 in the raids yesterday.