High Court, government provide solace to citizens

Kochi/Thiruvananthapuram: People in the perennially strike-hit Kerala can now breathe easy.

The Kerala High Court passed an interim order on Monday that henceforth if any group wished to call for a shutdown, it should give seven days notice and those who wish to challenge it can approach the court.

The ruling followed a petition filed by the Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry pointing out that in 2018 there were 97 shutdowns which caused massive losses to its members.

A division bench of Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice A.K. Jayasankaran Nambiar then intervened seeking a seven-day notice for any future shutdown or strike call.

The immediate provocation of the order was the widespread violence that erupted across Kerala during a shutdown called by the Sabarimala Karma Samithi (SKS) last week to protest against the entry of two women in the hitherto banned age group at the Sabarimala temple.

Kerala Police chief Loknath Behra said on Sunday that close to 40,000 people have been booked for creating violence in the state in the past three days and 1,869 cases have been filed.

Till Sunday, 5,769 people had been arrested, of which 789 had been remanded while 4,980 hot been released on bail.

On its part, the Kerala government on Monday gave its nod for a new ordinance titled 'Kerala Prevention of Damage to Private Property and Payment of Compensation Ordinance 2019'.

"Through this ordinance, any destruction of private property at the time of a shutdown or due to other unrest, adequate compensation would be collected from those who did it," Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.

"Through this law, the same rules that are there for destruction of public property will be applicable to those who engage in destruction of private property," he said.

Vijayan added that the Sangh Parivar forces were trying their best to see that they indulge in violence to send out a message that the law and order situation in Kerala was under siege.

"But they are mistaken. While they get away after indulging in violence where they are in office, they will not be allowed to get away (in Kerala). Ninety-five per cent of the violence that took place in the state in the last week was created by these Sangh Parivar forces.

"Strong action will be taken against such people," Vijayan told the media after a cabinet meeting.

Vijayan breathed fire against the demand made by a BJP leader in Delhi that the Centre should dismiss the Kerala government following what was described as a breakdown of law and order.

"Gone are the olden days. Today, threats won't work any more. And you (BJP) do not have the strength to execute it too," he said.

RECOMMENDED STORIES