Left-sponsored shutdown affects life in Kerala

Last Updated: Wed, Jul 10, 2013 06:10 hrs

Thiruvananthapuram, July 10 (IANS) Normal life was thrown out of gear in Kerala after a state-wide shutdown called by the opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) began early Wednesday, officials said.

Travellers arriving at various railway stations and airports in the state found themselves stranded, as barring private vehicles all forms of public transport remained off road. The day-long shutdown began at 6 a.m.

"No other state in our country is subjected to such inhuman forms of protest at this frequency. Why don't those who call for such measures think of the common man?" fumed a traveller who was left stranded at the central railway station here.

Although the Technopark and Infopark campuses were open, according to officials of the IT firms located there, the attendance of employees was very thin. But the central government offices across the state were functioning normally, an official said.

The university examinations scheduled for Wednesday have been cancelled and fresh dates would be announced later, a Kerala University official said.

The weekly cabinet meeting called by the chief minister, however, began as scheduled Wednesday morning at the secretariat office complex here. All the ministers and staffers of the secretariat were present for the meeting.

Except for a few skirmishes reported at few places, no major incidents of violence have been reported so far, a police official said, adding that strict vigil is being maintained across the state.

The LDF is observing the shutdown to press its demand for resignation of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, whom it has accused of involvement in a solar panel scam.

The opposition is also protesting Tuesday's police action in which a tear gas shell fell near the opposition legislators, including their leader V.S. Achuthanandan, when they came out to address supporters in front of the state secretariat.

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