80 shutdowns in 18 months, on an average 4 every month. This figure is haunting as this is after the courts have banned bandh and ‘forceful hartals’. While the political parties have given assurances that the hartals will be peaceful and there wouldn’t be any ‘forceful’ closure of shops or disruptions in traffic, it’s seldom followed.
Kerala witnessed yet another hartal yesterday with all major institutions, offices closed down. There were stray incidents caught on camera where the activists forced shopkeepers to close down and abused people who took their vehicles on the road. In one incident a cab with foreign tourists were stopped and the driver was manhandled. The terror in the tourists’ eyes was clearly visible. No wonder these warnings are part of standard country specific documents in foreign government sites.As the two parties try their hand at blaming each other, the people are left tormented. While students enjoy their holiday, there are thousands of travelers left with no other choice but to ruin their day at bus stations.I see no end to this unless the politicians themselves come with a new form of protest and give people the ‘choice’ to take part if they want to.