Thiruvananthapuram observes 97th shutdown in two years

October 21st, 2008 - 3:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyThiruvananthapuram, Oct 21 (IANS) Kerala’s capital remained shut Tuesday over the demand for a high court bench in the city - the 97th shutdown here in a span of just over two years.The shutdown has been called by the action council led by the Thiruvananthapuram Bar Association, who are being backed by the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“This is being held to mark the 250th day of the agitation launched by the Association demanding a Kerala High Court bench in the capital city. We will not resort to blocking of roads or cause any inconvenience to anyone,” said association president C.K. Sitaram.

The number 97 includes both regional and state wide shutdowns ever since the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government took charge in May 2006.

Tuesday’s shutdown was largely peaceful, barring stray incidents of stones being pelted at public buses. All educational institutions, hotels and restaurants in the district remained shut.

The ruling Left parties pulled out of the shutdown, though they had lent their support to the issue earlier.

“The LDF had supported the campaign for a high court bench only to make political capital out of the issue. They have succumbed to pressure from external forces and betrayed the agitation,” said K. Mohankumar, chairman of the district UDF committee.

The strike, however, hit tourism in the city.

“This is really a menace because there was a shutdown on Friday too. Shutdowns are being called for reasons as vague as one which we saw Friday when a miscreant was killed. For anything and everything it has become a habit for political parties to cause hardships to people by calling shutdowns,” said a driver, who ekes out a living driving his own tourist taxi in Kovalam.

The 96th shutdown Friday was called when Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activists forcibly asked shops, establishments and even commercial banks to down their shutters over the killing of one of their activists.

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