PFI shutdown against NIA action turns violent, police personnel injured in stone pelting

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Stone pelting and attacks on cars, including KSRTC buses, have been recorded from different locations throughout the state during the Popular Front of India’s dawn-to-dusk hartal that started on Friday, a day after the organization’s leaders were arrested in a large country-wide operation.

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The PFI has called for a shutdown of all government services in Kerala as a form of protest against the National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) arrests of PFI members in national operations yesterday. It all kicked off at six in the morning, and the hartal (strike) will go all the way until six in the evening. No one was seen driving around this morning in several other sections of the state.

Stone-throwing incidents were reported to the police from several locations around the state. Earlier today, hartal supporters assaulted two police officials in the Pallimukku area of the Kollam district. Photos from Panamaram hamlet in Wayanad district showed hartal supporters throwing stones at a KSRTC bus.  The destination of the bus was Kozhikode. 

Kozhikode, Kochi, Alappuzha, and Kollam were all hit by attacks on KSRTC buses. After being assaulted at Poonthura, a damaged autorickshaw and car were seen in Thiruvananthapuram, the state capital.

Antony and Nikhil, two police employees, have been taken to the hospital with injuries. Police have documented the suspects’ bike numbers and said they will shortly be apprehended. The streets of Kottayam seemed to be empty.

In a statement released earlier on Thursday, the PFI said that it would “never surrender” and that the agency’s accusations are meant to “create an atmosphere of fear.” The PFI also condemned the searches conducted by the NIA and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against its leaders.

According to the sources, yesterday, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Enforcement Directorate (ED), and state police forces in 15 states and other places throughout the nation detained a total of 106 Popular Front of India (PFI) militants.

(With inputs from ANI)

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