Kochi: The Kerala High Court has hardened its stand on the issue of impromptu hartals in the state, ordering the police to slap criminal charges on Youth Congress state president Dean Kuriakose in all cases related to the shutdown forced by the Congress feeder organisation on Monday. He will be an accused in all 189 cases registered in connection with the hartal.
Similarly, Sabarimala Karma Samiti leaders, including former top cop T P Senkumar, will find themselves slapped with criminal charges in 990 cases related to the hartals the right-wing outfits had called to protest women's entry into the Sabarimala temple. Senkumar is the vice chairperson of the Samiti.
The court approved the government's request to hold the leaders liable for the violence unleashed throughout the state on January 3. The government has also argued for recovering the financial loss from the political leaders who called for the hartal.
The High Court suo motu filed a case on the latest hartal called by the Youth Congress to protest the murder of two of its workers – Sharathlal and Kripesh - in Kasaragod earlier this week. The court had asked Kuriakose and two other leaders of the organisation to file an affidavit on calling for a shutdown without prior noticed as earlier directed by the court. Kuriakose said that he would cooperate with the court proceedings.
The state government told the court that the shutdown and related violence had caused the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation a loss of Rs 1.10 lakh. The police have filed cases against as many as 4,430 persons in 189 cases.
The government said that the public transporter suffered a loss of more than Rs 3 crore in the hartals called for by the Sabarimala Karma Samiti. Public property worth Rs 38.52 lakh has been destroyed. As many as 141 people were hurt in the violence, apart from 150 policemen and 11 officers. The government wants to recoup the losses from the leaders including Senkumar and Sabarimala Karma Samithi leader K S Radhakrishnan.