Mixed response for hartal call; stones pelted at buses

Mixed response for hartal call; stones pelted at buses

The hartal call, given by right wing organisations in protest against address by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, evoked mixed response here on Saturday with the private mofussil, city and express buses remaining off the roads.

A majority of the hotels and business establishments remained closed. However, KSRTC operated its services in the district. Barring a few incidents, by and large the hartal was peaceful. A total of 16 KSRTC buses were damaged in stone pelting incidents.

Private buses, which dominate the transport sector in the district, stayed off the roads. City bus (private) number 27, which plies between State Bank and Mangaladevi, operated for some time. But it stopped soon after some miscreants pelted stones at the bus. Only a few autorickshaws were running in the city.

Kerala State Road Transport Corporation did not operate its buses between Mangaluru and Kasargod. According to the police, two of its buses were stoned at the border near Talapady on Friday night. Miscreants set a lorry on fire which was parked on the roadside at Okkettur on Vittal-Mangaluru Road early on Saturday.

The police personnel, who kept a tight vigil across the district, ensured that miscreants did not target the long-distance buses. The city police took many leaders of various Hindu organisations into preventive custody as a precautionary measure. Some miscreants had pelted stones at four buses, including one private bus, at Ullal and Konaje and two drivers suffered injuries in the incident. 
Stones were pelted at the police patrolling KSRTC bus at Talapady in Manjeshwar police station jurisdiction. At around 11 am, the miscreants damaged a bus at Assaigoli in Konje police station jurisdiction. In another incident, a gang of six persons pelted stones at a private bus at Talapady, in which driver Vijay suffered injuries.

The miscreants also threw stones at a KSRTC bus coming towards Mangaluru from Kasargod and the gang assaulted driver Matapathi. Fearing for life, the driver fled the spot. About 25 passengers who were in the bus had to walk for half a kilometre to get other means of transportation.

In yet another incident, a few trouble mongers pelted stones at a KSRTC bus in Bajpe. Besides, tyres were burnt on the road to disrupt the movement of vehicles. Three KSRTC buses and a private bus from Kerala were pelted stones at Vittal.

Trees were felled and laid on road at Kambalabettu and Urimajalu to disrupt movement of vehicles. Later, the police personnel removed the logs to allow the movement of vehicles.

Without the availability of private public transport vehicles, the passengers, office-goers were seen seeking lift from private vehicles to reach their destinations. Stones were pelted at a KSRTC Volvo bus at Pumpwell Circle in the evening. The miscreants had also burnt tyres on road at Pundith house, Kotekar, Padil and other places. The government offices functioned normally.

“The private bus owners kept off the road fearing violence since morning. However, as RTO and DC warned of deploying KSRTC buses if the private bus operators failed to operate, a few buses were operated. As a result, the bus had to be inevitably taken out on the road. The RTO and the deputy commissioner are responsible for loss due to damaging of windowpanes of buses,” private bus owner Sharath said.

The Ullal police took four persons into custody, who were moving suspiciously in Kumpala. Speaking to DH, KSRTC Mangaluru Division Controller Vevekanand Hegde said that 16 buses have been damaged in stone pelting.

The police had beefed up security across the district. ADGP Alok Mohan, IGP (Western Range) P Harishekaran, SP Bhushan Gulabrao Borase, Commissioner Chandra Sekhar visited different parts of the district to look into the security aspect.

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