Stray incidents of violence mar New Year celebrations in Kerala

January 1st, 2009 - 2:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 1 (IANS) Stray incidents of violence marred the New Year celebrations in Kerala with one man killed in a brawl, while a police station was ransacked by a group of activists allegedly from the youth wing of the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).A brawl between two groups at Malappuram in the early hours Thursday developed into a full-fledged clash in which Harish, 25, was beaten to death, while another person was serious injured. About a dozen other people were injured in the incident.

At Kumarakom, a famed tourist destination, two dozen youths, alleged to be members of the Democratic Youth Federation of India, the youth wing of the CPI-M, barged into the Kumarakom police station and attacked the officials on duty early Thursday after the police detained four of their supporters who were drunk.

Meanwhile, some people misbehaved with a group of foreign women tourists visiting the Kochi beach after midnight.

Kochi Police Commissioner Manoj Abraham told reporters that that three youths were arrested for misbehaving with a tourist from the Philippines, after the victim lodged a complaint.

A large number of Christians across the state flocked to churches to attend mass, which was held at 6 a.m. rather then midnight.

“This time, we did not have the midnight mass and it was instead at 6 a.m. Thursday, which we felt was more convenient for us to attend. Moreover, today is a holiday for us,” said Shreya Jacob, an employee with a leading IT firm here.

An official of the Kerala State Beverages Corporation, the sole wholesale seller of Indian made foreign liquor and beer in the state, told IANS that record sales were witnessed in liquor shops.

“Last year, we did a sale of Rs.18 crore (Rs.180 million) Dec 31 and this time, initial reports indicate that sales have crossed Rs.20 crore (Rs. 200 million) Wednesday. Huge crowds were seen in front of retail liquor shops and the police also had a tough time to controlling the customers,” said the official.

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