Thiruvananthapuram: The nationwide strike called by various trade unions continued to trouble people in Kerala for a second day on Wednesday with protesters disrupting rail-road traffic in the state.
Though the strike was reported to be peaceful, protesters vandalised an SBI branch near the Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram. The office had functioned on Tuesday. The strike supporters had asked officials not to open the branch Wednesday. They vandalised the office after authorities refused to be cowed down to threats. The office equipment, including computers, were damaged in the attack.
Both KSRTC and private buses kept off the roads, along with autorickshaws and cabs, during the general strike called by 10 central trade unions against 'anti-labour policies' of the central government. Daily commuters and passengers were in for a harrowing time with no public transport available. All trade unions except the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh have supported the strike.
At the Thiruvananthapuram railway station, Thiruvananthapuram-Hyderabad Sabari Express and Venad Express were blocked, while the Kottayam-Nilambur passenger train was held up for a while at Kalamassery.
However, more shops and establishments opened their shutters on Wednesday compared to Tuesday. While banks were shut, attendances in state and central government offices marginally improved since Tuesday.
All university examinations slated for Wednesday have been postponed and educational institutions were closed.
Even though the tourism industry had sought exemption from shutdowns, popular tourist destination like Alappuzha and Wayanad were badly affected as travellers couldn't move around.
Sabarimala pilgrims, tourists, social and religious functions have been exempted from the strike. However, TV reports said that the two-day strike has had drastically affected the inflow of pilgrims to the hill shrine.
The stir has virtually turned into a 'hartal' in Kerala with schools and colleges being shut and banking services being affected. On Tuesday too, trains were stopped, while buses and auto-rickshaws kept off the roads.
The union leaders had assured businesses they would not force closure of shops and target traders. The Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi has said it would open its commercial establishments.
Normal life was largely unaffected in other parts of the country.
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