'PFI will not prevail...' BJP opposes violence on pretext of hartal, slams Kerala's Left government
Kerala BJP President K Surendran said: "The PFI criminals have resorted to massive violence in the name of hartal. They attacked KSRTC buses, forcefully shut shops and disrupted Mookambika pilgrimage while Kerala police remain silent spectators."
Violence perpetrated by Popular Front of India activists in Kerala in the name of hartal has evoked sharp responses from the Bharatiya Janata Party, which criticised the Left Democratic Front for being a mute spectator to the criminal actions.
Citing a total breakdown of law and order in the state, Kerala BJP President K Surendran said: "The PFI criminals have resorted to massive violence in the name of hartal. They attacked KSRTC buses, forcefully shut shops and disrupted Mookambika pilgrimage while Kerala police remained silent spectators."
Further criticising the state government, Surendran said: "Strongly condemn the widespread attack on the general public by PFI terrorists. These anti-national elements attacked even police officers, pilgrimage vehicles, and KSRTC buses. Why is the Kerala Police not taking stringent action against the perpetrators? Is it a state-sponsored hartal?"
Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said that those who think that they can use violence to intimidate India and Indians are delusional. "The PFI is an organization that has repeatedly proved that they will wage violence against some communities and against India. They will not prevail. Full stop. This is new India," he posted on Twitter while reacting to Surendran's comments.
The remarks come amidst multiple incidents of stone pelting on state transport buses, damage to shops and private vehicles and other acts of arson being reported from across the state in response to the dawn-to-dusk hartal called by the PFI. The hartal was called to protest against the raids carried out by the National Investigation Agency, which round up over 150 PFI workers and leaders in nationwide raids on Thursday.
The violence prompted the Kerala High Court to take up a case on its own. The high court came down heavily upon the violence unleashed by the PFI and termed its call for strike as 'illegal'. The court has asked the state government to take strict action against PFI and its cadre.
Some police personnel, some bus and lorry drivers and commuters suffered injuries in stone pelting and other related incidents. Police in Kottayam district's Erattupetta town had to resort to lathi-charge to disperse hartal supporters who were trying to block vehicles and forcibly close shops.
Local media reported that earlier this morning, a petrol bomb was hurled at a vehicle, which was carrying newspapers for distribution at Kannur's Narayanpara. A number of Kerala State Road Transport Corporation buses were also targetted in almost all districts, including Thiruvananthapuram, Wayanad, Thrissur, Kollam, Kozhikode and Alappuzha.
A lorry driver, who was on his way to Erode in Tamil Nadu, suffered severe injuries on his nose and eyes after the hartal supporters pelted his vehicle with stones in Kozhikode.
"They deliberately attacked us with the intention of destroying the lorry. They attacked the lorry when it was parked on the roadside. I went to a private hospital for first aid, and now I am going to the government hospital for a detailed check-up," he said.
Hundreds of PFI activists were reportedly detained in local police stations as a precautionary measure, sources said, adding, however, that an exact figure was not available at the moment.