THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Thursday’s BJP hartal in protest against gifting the IUML with a fifth Minister evoked lukewarm response in the capital city, but suburban towns reported isolated incidents of violence, including attacks on buses. Hartal loyalists attacked a bus of the Tamil Nadu State Road Transport Corporation at Neyyattinkara, while the KSRTC was forced to discontinue services in many places.
Shops and establishments in Thiruvananthapuram city remained closed in the morning, but KSRTC buses, private vehicles and autorickshaws plied unhindered. Barring a few incidents where hartal loyalists tried to block vehicles, the capital city was largely unaffected by the dawn-to-dusk agitation. Shops in Chalai market remained closed. Schools and government offices functioned as on a normal day.
However, motorists who ran out of fuel had a tough time with petrol pumps remaining closed. Serpentine queues - both of vehicles and people carrying cans - were seen at Supplyco pumps.
Services originating from the KSRTC’s Thampanoor Central Station were not hit, except for southbound buses passing through Neyyattinkara. KSRTC’s City Stand also did not report any untoward incident.
Neyattinkara witnessed tense moments with hartal loyalists shattering the window pane of a Tamil Nadu bus at Gramam Junction. KSRTC services and private vehicles were also forced to stay off the roads. Problems began in the morning with an altercation between BJP activists and traders after the former tried to forcibly close shops.
‘’We were on our way to Thiruvananthapuram from Parassala, but were stranded at Neyyattinkara from 1 pm onwards till the hartal ended,’’ Biju Joseph, a school teacher, said.
Hartal loyalists shattered the window pane of an Attingal-Kilimanoor KSRTC bus at Kilimanoor. No one was hurt, KSRTC officials in Attingal said. KSRTC services were also blocked for nearly an hour at Varkala and Chirayinkeezhu.
Hundreds of passengers were stranded at the Nedumangad depot after hartal loyalists laid a siege to the bus stand around 9.30 am, according to KSRTC officials there. Services were resumed by 2.30 pm. Still, a few services in the Kattakkada and Vellanadu regions had to be ended halfway, the officials said.
‘’We conducted 1,248 services in the Thiruvananthapuram zone. Some had to be discontinued midway due to the hartal. One or two buses were attacked in Neyyattinkara. Barring this, we were not affected,’’ said K M Irshad, chief traffic manager in-charge of operations, KSRTC.