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HC initiates contempt proceedings against Kerala Youth Congress prez, 2 others over flash hartal

Kochi: The Kerala High Court Monday initiated contempt proceedings against Youth Congress president Dean Kuriakose and two others for calling a flash hartal to protest against the twin murders of party workers in Kasaragod district.

Observing that the hartal by the Youth Congress amounted to contempt of court, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice A K Jayasankaran Nambiar directed issuance of notice to Kuriakose, Kamaruddin and United Democratic Front (UDF) Kasaragod district chairman A Govindan Nair.

The bench had in January banned ‘flash hartals’, making it mandatory for any organisation to issue a notice of at least seven days while calling for hartals.

When the case came up Monday, the bench pointed out that people who call for hartals are also responsible for the damage caused to public and private property when it is observed.

It directed the state government to file a detailed report on the damage incurred, if any, and pointed out that the government can initiate recovery proceedings and realise the damage from those who had invoked the flash hartal.

A state-wide dawn-to-dusk hartal was called past midnight by the Youth Congress leadership through social media, hours after its workers -Sarath Lal and Kripesh – were hacked to death in the northern Kasaragod district on Sunday.

Last month’s order banning flash hartals was issued based on a PIL filed by the Kerala Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber’s petition had stated that 97 hartals were held in Kerala in 2018, which had a severe impact on the business and livelihood of workers, causing loss worth crores of rupees.

PTI

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