PFI Protests: The Popular Front of India (PFI) in Kerala had called for a bandh in protest of pre-dawn raids and the detention of its top leaders. The protest turned violent on Friday. Stones were thrown in districts, including Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kozhikode, Wayanad, and Alappuzha, where there have been numerous reports of damage and violence already. According to A Abdul Sathar, state general secretary for PFI, the hartal would last from 6 AM until 6 PM.
After the demonstrations turned violent, the Kerala High Court took a Suo moto cognisance against the PFI leaders, calling a flash hartal in the state as illegal. Flash hartals had previously been outlawed by the court. The court ruled that ongoing attacks should be stopped right away. The term “flash hartals” refers to hartals that are called without prior notice. Therefore, according to Kerala High Court, hartals shall be called after providing at least seven days notice.
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According to news agency ANI, individuals reportedly supporting the state-wide bandh declared today by the Popular Front of India in protest over NIA raids damaged one auto-rickshaw and a car.
In Companypadi, close to Aluva, a bus operated by the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) was vandalised, according to reports.
A petrol bomb was reportedly thrown at a car carrying newspapers for distribution at Narayanpara in Kannur early that morning, according to local media. KSRTC buses, a tanker truck, and a few other vehicles were destroyed in Alappuzha after stone-throwing purportedly carried out by individuals in support of the hartal call.
Minor girl suffers injury from protests
Minor injuries were sustained by a 15-year-old girl and an auto-rickshaw driver in the alleged stone-throwing by PFI supporters in Kozhikode.
Two Police officers have been injured
In Kollam, two civil police personnel named Antony and Nikhil suffered injuries as a result of a PFI supporters attack.
When the police tried to stop two guys on a bike from abusing people, they pushed the officers. Now that the bike number has been located and two of the policemen have been admitted to the hospital, police say they will shortly arrest the suspects.
Kerala Police increases the security
After the PFI called for a day-long state-wide hartal, Kerala police increased security in the state and gave district police heads instructions to maintain law and order.
According to a police statement, people who break the law will face harsh punishment. “All the policemen in the state will be deployed for the maintenance of law and order,” the statement said.
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A hartal will be observed across the state today, according to PFI’s announcement on Thursday “Against the RSS-controlled fascist government’s attempt to silence dissenting voices using the central agencies”.
NIA raids on PFI
Workers from PFI staged protests against the Centre and its investigating agencies on Thursday by marching to the locations of the raids. To reinforce the security, however, central forces had already been placed in all such locations.
In nearly simultaneous raids at 93 locations in 15 states on Thursday, multi-agency teams led by the NIA detained 106 PFI employees for allegedly financing terrorism in the nation. Officials reported that the largest number of 22 arrests occurred in Kerala, where PFI has some powerful financial connections.
Those detained were former chairman E Abubacker, national chairman O M A Salam, national secretary Nasaruddin Elamaram, and PFI state president C P Mohammed Basheer.