5 PFI activists arrested in Kerala for violence during hartal

NIA raid
Security tightened outside NIA office ahead of interrogation of PFI leaders taken into custody. Photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram:  Five PFI activists have been arrested from the Kottayam and Kollam districts of Kerala for allegedly engaging in violent activities during the state-wide hartal called by the organisation on September 23 following the countrywide raids at its properties by central agencies.

Four activists of the Popular Front of India (PFI) were arrested from Kottayam on Monday for breaking the glass of a bakery and damaging a KSRTC bus, police said.

From Kollam, a PFI activist was arrested on Monday for allegedly ramming into a police motorbike with his two-wheeler in his bid to escape the clutches of the police personnel.

The police were trying to catch him as he was allegedly intimidating and abusing those present along the Kottiyam-Pallimukku stretch of national highway 66 on September 23, they said.

While trying to escape the police, the accused rammed into the police patrolling bike and sped away without stopping.

The two officers on the bike were seriously injured with one of them still hospitalised, police said on Tuesday.

A petrol bomb was hurled at vehicle in Kannnur during the PFI strike on September 23, 2022. Photo: Manorama

The accused, arrested from Kollam, has been booked for the offence of attempt to murder and remanded to 14-days judicial custody.

Masked men and miscreants had gone on a rampage in different parts of Kerala during the dawn-to-dusk hartal called by PFI, under the lens for alleged terror activities, and damaged state-run buses and ambulance, injured policemen and commoners, vandalised shops and threatened the public.

The violent incidents affected normal life in many parts of the southern state.

A total of 309 cases were lodged, 1,404 persons arrested, and 834 taken into preventive detention so far in connection with the violence unleashed across the state during the hartal called by PFI on Friday.

More arrests are likely as the police continued efforts to arrest absconding activists of PFI and its political wing Social Democratic Party of India in connection with the violence, and conducted searches at business institutions owned by them. The searches on Monday were carried out in areas coming under the jurisdiction of the Taliparamba, Payyannur, Mattannur, and Pazhayangadi police stations in Kannur district. However, the actions yielded no significant results.

The cops are also examining whether any financial aid has been extended to the miscreants from any quarter for indulging in apparently organised violence.

PFI activists hold protest in Kochi. Photo: Evsrikumar Viswanathan/Manorama

Meanwhile, a person identified as Shamnad (31), resident of Shamnad Mansil, Kuttikkada Nagar, Valathungal, was arrested for attempting to drive his motorcycle over police personnel on the hartal day at Pallimukku in Kollam.

A First-Class Judicial Magistrate Court remanded 86 PFI activists who conducted a march to the office of the Deputy Superintendent of Police at Mananthavady in Wayanad district.

The Ambalappuzha Police took five more SDPI workers into custody for pelting stones on vehicles. The arrested were identified as Niyas (36), a resident of Kalluvathara House, Vandanam, Noushad (35) of Thoppil, Purakkad, Sajeer (27) of Palliparambu, Kakkayam, Suneer (38) of Meledam House, Purakkad, and Najeeb (46), a resident of Tara Manzil, Purakkad.

Police Search continues in Kannur.

NIA look-out circular

A look-out circular was issued against PFI's State secretary Abdul Sattar and General Secretary C A Rauf, the 3rd and 12th accused, respectively, in the case registered by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), to prevent them from leaving the country. A search warrant will also be issued against the absconding duo in an effort to trace and arrest them.

The NIA has come to the conclusion that the two were behind the call for hartal and also provoking the mob, which went on a violence spree, destroying government and public properties.

(With PTI inputs.)

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