Kerala’s Ex DGP allegedly behind the hartal day violence: High Court issues notice

A total of 79 KSRTC buses were damaged in stone-pelting during the hartal. Many media personnel, including women, were attacked and 31 policemen were injured
Kerala High Court Notice Sabarimala

Kerala high court issues notices to leaders of a number of right-wing groups- including TP Senkumar, former DGP of the state- on a petition seeking compensation for damages during the hartal called by the Sabarimala Karma Samithi on January 3. TN Mukundan, a native from Thrissur demanded compensation from the leaders of various outfits which supported the hartal in his petition.

The Court issued notices to Hindu Aikya Vedi leader KP Sasikala, BJP leaders PS Sreedharan Pillai, O Rajagopal, PK Kirshnadas, AN Radhakrishan, K Surendran, MT Ramesh and Sabarimala Karma Samithi leaders TP Senkumar(former DGP) and KS Radhakrishnan(former Chairman of the Kerala State Public Service Commission), for extending their support to the shutdown.

The Karma Samithi called for the hartal after two women, Bindu and Kanakadurga, prayed at the Sabarimala temple despite the threats from the Hindu extremist groups. The hartal supporters made violent protests all over the state which resulted in damage to public and private properties.

A total of 79 KSRTC buses were damaged in stone-pelting during the hartal. Many media personnel, including women, were attacked and 31 policemen were injured. Loknath Behera, the state police chief in a press release stated that, across the state, 1286 cases have been registered in connection with hartal-related violence and over 37,000 persons have been named as accused.

The petition by Mukundan pointed out to a Supreme Court verdict on a petition filed by the Kodungallur Film Society. In October 2018, the SC ordered that the Kerala government must issue guidelines to deter acts of vandalism and hooliganism carried out in the name of public protests.

“The SC verdict says that if any group or organisation causes violence and damage, their leaders should be present in the police station for questioning. But in this case, those who were responsible for the hartal didn’t appear at police stations,” the petition points out according to a report by The News Minute.

The petition was also set aside, to be heard with that of the one filed by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry seeking to ban hartals.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice A K Jayasankaran Nambiar had ordered on Monday that hartals can be declared only after giving prior notice of seven days on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by the Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Court held that within the 7 days, any citizen can challenge the declaration of hartal.