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Homechevron_rightKeralachevron_rightSuo motu case against...

Suo motu case against PFI by Kerala HC following flash hartal

Suo motu case against PFI by Kerala HC following flash hartal

Kochi: After "taking note of the illegal call for hartal" made by the Popular Front of India (PFI), a division bench of the Kerala High Court on Friday began suo motu contempt of court proceedings against the organisation and its state general secretary A Abdul Sathar.

The bench stated that the PFI and its general secretary's decision to summon the flash hartal without adhering to the proper procedure as stated in "our earlier order of 2019, prima facie, amounts to contempt of the directions of this court". Hundreds of PFI employees were taken into preventative custody by the police on Friday after numerous violent incidents were reported from various parts of the state.

The PFI had called for a hartal protesting the arrest of 19 of its leaders in Kerala by central agencies, including its chairman O M A Salam, national secretary Nasaruddin Elamaram, state president C P Mohammed Basheer, senior leader P Koya, and former chairman E Aboobacker.

Flash hartals were forbidden by a 2019 high court judgement, and the bench of Justices A K Jayasankaran Nambiar and Mohammed Nias C P ordered that those who broke the order face harsh punishment. The matter was continued for a hearing on September 29 after the court requested a report from the state government.

The court asked the media on Friday to make sure that the public is properly informed whenever such flash hartals are called that they are against the court's order."This, in our view, would suffice to a large extent, in allaying the apprehensions of the general public as regards the legality of the call for hartal and also dissuade providers of public utility services from heeding such calls for illegal hartals in future," said the court.

The division bench cited a section of the 2019 order that stated a call for a hartal or general strike has no bearing on the fundamental rights of anyone who disagree with the cause of the callers. Citizens who resist the call for a hartal or strike will have seven clear days to file a lawsuit. The aforementioned warning period would also allow the state/district administration to take the required actions to protect the interests of the state's residents. According to the court, hartals and general strikes called without following the aforementioned protocol would be declared illegal, and the person/party calling for the hartal would be responsible for any loss or harm caused to citizens and the government as a result of the call.

In several areas of Kerala, notably in PFI strongholds, normal life has been negatively impacted as a result of the private operator-run buses being off the roads. Numerous travellers who arrived at railway stations from remote locations became trapped. Schools reported low attendance or remained closed. In Muslim strongholds, businesses and establishments did not run, Indian Express reported.

Numerous trucks, private vehicles, and buses operated by the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) were attacked in the state early in the morning. During the stone-throwing, a few bus drivers suffered injuries. In the wake of the attacks, the KSRTC briefly suspended services. The police reported that a two-wheeler in Kannur was struck by a bomb and that two officers responding to a protest in Kollam were struck by a bike. PFI campaigners pushed businesses to close their shutters in various locations.

On Friday, when violent occurrences were being reported from all throughout the state, police intervened and detained hundreds of PFI workers as a precaution. Around 100 people were brought into jail after a fight broke out between hartal supporters and the police at the PFI stronghold of Erattupetta in Kottayam district. Similar actions were taken after PFI men vandalised public spaces in Kozhikode, Malappuram, and other districts.

A bomb was hurled at the RSS office in Kannur's Mattannur, but no one was harmed, according to the police.

K Surendran, the state president of the BJP, accused the police of failing to take action against those responsible for the violence on Friday, alleging that the CPI(M) government's home department had caved in to pressure from radical groups. "The police have reduced themselves to mere onlookers when PFI men unleashed violence in many parts of Kerala. The CPI(M) government led by Pinarayi Vijayan is maintaining a soft corner towards the PFI-sponsored violence in return for the support of extremist elements during the last Assembly elections," he said.

The majority of educational institutions remained closed, and offices across the state reported little attendance. The tests scheduled for Friday have been postponed by universities. The majority of the state's businesses continued to be closed.

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TAGS:PFI Kerala hartal Kerala HC suo motu case 
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