The statewide hartal, called by the Opposition Congress, against the CPM-led state government and the BJP-led Centre, partially affected life in financial capital Kochi. The bandh was called against price rise, frequent fuel hikes, problems arising out of demonetisation and the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST).
While private buses completely went off roads in the city, KSRTC buses, though fewer in number, operated services. Stray incidents of violence such as a government bus getting pelted with stones at Palarivattom were reported. In some places, activists are reported to have forcibly closed shops.
“I have been waiting for a bus to go to office for an hour. I think I will take a leave,” said Soorya, who works at Wellington Island. “Resistance is necessary, but you cannot torture people.”
People in the city took out their cars and bikes as the government had promised adequate security and protection. The CPM government had warned of action against Congress activists if they harassed the common man on the street. Autorickshaws also ran freely.
Almost all shops, commercial establishments, and restaurants remained closed. Medical shops remained open.
People travelling between Aluva and Maharajas College had the option of commuting via the Kochi Metro.
Ramesh Chennithala, Opposition Leader in state Assembly, denied any violent incidents in the state at a press conference. He said the party had ensured that people were not inconvenienced by the strike.