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Rediff News  All News  » News » Muslims call hartal in Thiruvananthapuram

Muslims call hartal in Thiruvananthapuram

May 18, 2009 21:34 IST
Various Muslim organisations have jointly called for a dawn to dusk hartal in Thriuvananthapuram on Tuesday, following the killing of five people near the Beemapally area in the city in police firing on Sunday evening.

The police firing and the related incidents occurred when a local goon, Shibu, tried to force money from shop keepers in the area as hafta which was objected by the traders.

While Beemapally and the adjacent areas are Muslim dominated, many from the Latin Catholic community live in the surroundings. The traders did not budge to the overtures of Shibu and instead tied him to a post and beat him up black and blue.

An enraged Shibu came back to the area by the evening on Saturday and inflicted damages on the shops and hit back at some of the traders and locals with his associates. Immediately, the local Mosque and the Church authorities in the surrounding areas sat together and settled the issue.

However a group of Muslim youths tried to break this peace meeting on Sunday and tried to attack on the other communities' residences and other establishments which led to another round of stone pelting between the two sides.

A heavy contingent of police led by the city police commissioner and reached the spot and fired tear gas shells at the violent mob and subsequently resorted to firing at the mob.

Four people were killed immediately, and another person succumbed to his injuries on Monday morning.

The state home minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, who was in Delhi to attend the Communist Party of India-Marxist Polit bureau meeting rushed back to the state and convened a high level meeting of police officers and district authorities.

The minister also convened a meeting of all political parties and social groups and leaders. The minister while speaking to over telephone said that the discussions with the aggrieved parties is progressing and the government is willing to give Rs 10 lakh as compensation to the families.

The minister appealed to all sections of the people to unitedly work for peace and to prevent any untoward incidents in the area. The minister also said that a high level commission would be set up to study whether the police has erred in the issue.

Several Muslim organisations conducted a march towards the state secretariat. State president of the Popular Front, Nasaruddin Elamaram while addressing the protestors demanded the resignation of the state home minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan taking moral responsibility on the police firing at the mob.

The Popular Front leader also said that the government should provide adequate compensation to the families of the victims and demanded the setting up of a high level commission to probe the cause of the atrocities that transpired in the area resulting the killing of five innocent people.

Thiruvananthapuram and surrounding areas are tense since Monday morning as the march towards the secretariat turned violent and the police had to resort to a mild lathicharge to control the situation.

Arun Lakshman in Thiruvananthapuram