The ‘Say No To Hartal’ group is gearing up to mark their protest against the Left Democratic Front’s (LDF) call for hartal on Monday in the state. The group which comes to life whenever there is a hartal call said that they would actively contest the hartal supporters in the streets of Kochi on Monday.
In an attempt to confront the hartal supporters, the group will organise a vehicle rally from Kadavanthra to South railway station at 10 am. The organisers said the attempt was to break every taboo followed religiously on a hartal day in the state.
“We’re against hartal, irrespective of the severity of the issue for which the hartal call is made. Because we strongly believe that hartal is not a positive mode of protest,” said Raju P Nair, general convener of the ‘Say No To Hartal’ campaign committee. He adds that the big ‘No’ to hartal is not politically motivated. “I have a very clear political position. I am an official member of the Youth Congress. But the campaign charter binds each one of us to set our political inclination aside when it comes to opposing hartals,” said Raju.
If a volunteer signs up for the campaign, he should sign up saying that he would protest the call for hartal by any political party. “Even Hibi Eden MLA had to protest against a UDF hartal because he had signed up,” said Reju.
Over the past five years of its existence, the group has received the patronage of great minds such as Shashi Tharoor MP, Justice V R Krishna Iyer, Chavara Cultural Centre director Father Roby Kannanchira and veteran journalists B R P Bhaskar and K M Roy.
The group has said that if any hartal supporter tries to damage their vehicles, they would move court for compensation.
The ‘Say No To Hartal Group’ will be on duty at the North and South railway stations on the hartal day to help stranded passengers. Almost 262 volunteers have already registered on the group’s website ‘www.saynotoharthal.com’ expressing their interest to volunteer on the day.
Thirty cars and other vehicles have been arranged for the service. The public can call 9447035375 to avail themselves of it.