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An activist of SDPI was stabbed to death in Kerala's Kannur district today as violence marred the state-wide hartal called by BJP in protest against the murder of a party worker allegedly by CPI(M) activists.
Normal life was hit with public transport keeping off the roads and shops and business establishments remaining shut.
BJP activist Remith was hacked to death in the home town of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan yesterday within 48 hours of the murder of a CPI(M) activist and toddy shop worker Mohanan (40) by a six-member gang at Pathiriyad in Kannur district.
Kannur, where police was on vigil throughout as the body of the slain youth was cremated, witnessed another murder today when Farooq (40), activist of SDPI (Social Democratic Party of India), political wing of Popular Front of India, was stabbed to death by a group.
Police, however, said this was not a political murder and was due to previous enmity even as SDPI pointed fingers at IUML.
Some incidents of violence were reported from various parts of the state. In some places, hartal supporters blocked private vehicles from plying. At Thrissur, hartal supporters damaged the memorial of Azhikode Raghavan, a Communist leader.
At Ottapalam in Palakkad district, activists of RSS and CPI(M)'s youth wing DYFI clashed resulting in injuries to three DYFI workers, police said.
There was a minor clash between BJP and CPI(M) workers at Sreevaraham in Thiruvanathapuram and some workers were injured, police said.
Meanwhile, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Nalini Netto and state DGP Loknath Behara met Governor P Sathasivam and apprised him of the law-and-order situation in the state.
This is in view of the governor expressing concern over the recent 'isolated incidents' of political murders in Kannur district, a Raj Bhavan press release. They informed the governor efforts were on to apprehend the culprits, irrespective of their party affiliations.
The governor also appealed to leaders of all political parties to convince their local units and cadres on the need to settle differences and disputes amicably and without resorting to violence of any kind.
He also expressed hope that all political parties would come forward to share the responsibilities to maintain peace in areas witnessing violent incidents.
The release also stated that the 'petition on political violence' in Kannur received by the governor and forwarded to the chief minister was also being 'acted upon'.
A march taken out by BJP activists to the Secretariat here
saw some media personnel being attacked.
Cameras and lens of few photographers, who tried to take video footage of some persons damaging a CPI(M) flag post and flex board in front of the secretariat, were allegedly damaged by protesters. They also allegedly manhandled a photographer of an English daily and police have registered a case.
A similar incident of media personnel allegedly being attacked was also reported from Thrissur.
Kerala Union of Working Journalists district secretary C Rahim condemned the incidents and wanted government to take stern action against those who were behind the attack.
Reports on stone pelting of some long distance buses were reported even as private vehicles were blocked in various places and BJP workers allegedly forcibly tried to close down shutters of some shops.
BJP state president, Kummanam Rajasekharan, said the hartal was 'total' in the state and thanked the people for making it a 'success'.
"It is a warning to the CPI(M)'s politics of violence," he said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Congress attacked both CPI(M) and BJP alleging that they were responsible for the violence in Kannur and other parts of the state.
They should ask their workers to lay down arms and shun violence, KPCC President V M Sudheeran told reporters.
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Glass panes of a luxury bus of state-owned KSRTC were damaged in stone pelting by some unidentified persons at Panniyankara in the outskirts of Kozhikode around noon.
No one was injured in the incident, according to Assistant Commissioner of Police (Spl Branch), M P Premdas.
A case has been registered.
A car with Karnataka registration from Guruvayoor was damaged in stone pelting by unidentified persons at Moozhikkal, about 10 km from Kozhikode. However, no one was injured and the occupants proceeded on their journey, the ACP said.
A stationery shop, owned by a BJP worker, was set on fire by a gang at Kunnamangalam in the district in which books and other articles worth thousands of rupees were destroyed, police said.