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Rs 86 lakh loss for state during PFI hartal violence: Kerala govt tells HC

Kochi: The Kerala government on Monday told the High Court that a loss of Rs 86 lakh was incurred owing to the damage to public property in the state during the violence in the statewide hartal called by now-banned Popular Front of India (PFI).

The government submitted that private persons suffered a loss of Rs 16 lakh during the violent hartal by the PFI on September 23.

It also said that the process to reclaim the loss from those who called for the violent hartal has been initiated.

The state government said it has appointed former district judge P D Shargadharan as the claims commissioner.

A total of 724 persons were apprehended as part of preventive detention, adding that all culprits have been identified and majority have been arrested.

So far, Kerala police has registered a total of 361 cases and arrested 2,674 people in connection with the violence that happened on the hartal day.

Earlier, the High Court had asked the banned PFI and its former state general secretary to deposit Rs 5.2 crore with the Home Department towards damages estimated by the KSRTC and the government in connection with the hartal-related violence saying they must be held accountable for it.

The order came on a plea moved by the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) through advocate Deepu Thankan seeking compensation of over Rs 5 crore from PFI and Sathar for damages to its buses and reduction in services during the hartal.

KSRTC, in its plea, has contended that the hartal was called without any advance notice which was a violation of the High Court’s orders and that the violence on that day resulted in smashing of windscreens and damage to seats of 58 buses, injuries to 10 employees and one passenger.

Sathar, when he was the state general secretary of the outfit, had called for the hartal against the nationwide raids on PFI offices and arrests of its leaders, and then allegedly absconded.

Hours after PFI was banned, he had issued a statement saying the outfit has been disbanded in the wake of the Home Ministry’s decision and subsequently, he was arrested.

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