KOCHI: The hartal called by a joint protest council on Tuesday against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act evoked partial response in the district with KSRTC buses, taxis, autorickshaws and private vehicles plying on the road. Only private buses suspended their services.
While pelting of stones at buses was reported in Aluva and Perumbavoor, no untoward incident took place in Kochi city, said police.
Stones were thrown at a KSRTC ‘Minnal’ bus plying on the Thiruvananthapuram-Munnar route at Kuttamassery near Aluva around 3.50am. According to the Aluva police, the driver said that a person standing on the roadside hurled the stones which damaged the vehicle’s window panes. Five persons who could be identified were booked.
In another incident, stones were thrown at a KSRTC bus at Perumbavoor. No case was registered.
At various locations, shops were forcibly closed by supporters of the hartal. Protest marches were taken out in Kochi, Aluva, North Paravur, Vypeen, Perumbavoor, and Muvattupuzha. The Muvattupuzha police arrested 17 SDPI workers for allegedly attempting to forcibly close down shops and taking out a march in the town. Three protesters were arrested at Kothamangalam for allegedly blocking school buses.
With private buses staying off the road, attendance was thin in government offices. The officers said only 40 per cent attendance was recorded at the Collectorate. In Kochi, metro and auto-rickshaws carried out normal operations. Firms in Infopark and Special Economic Zone (SEZ) also functioned normally.
Christmas examinations were held as per schedule in all schools. In the absence of private buses, examinees reached the schools in other private vehicles.
Ahead of the hartal, the police had taken 55 persons into preventive custody in the Ernakulam Rural police district.