The August 20th hartal, the 82nd in 2008, went a step further than all the previous hartals. Needless to say, the usual occurrences were there. To mention some
• A child suffering from cancer died without medical help as he could not reach the hospital
• A bank was invaded by CITU led by no less a person than the panchayat president himself. Of course, destruction of property and assault of employees followed. Three employees including the manager were beaten up, with all sustaining injuries. And it goes without saying, the policecomplaint filed by the bank dared not identify the miscreants.
• And of course, the Police looked on (they don’t even look the other way any more) while this attack on the building and the employees was going on.
• In Trivandrum city, the commodity most conspicuous by its absence on the streets was the police.
But then these are all very very normal things on a hartal day, and we should be taking them in our stride. By this time, we Keralites ought to have learnt how to deal with hartals.The bank got what it deserved. Didn’t the manager know there was a hartal? He ought to have gone, the day before, to the super market to frantically stock things for the day of the hartal and queued up before the liqour shop, and then sat at home on the day of the bandh , watching cricket and Olympics instead of daring to respond to the call of duty. The boy who died should have chosen another day to die. Didn’t he know that the left trade union had called for a national bandh?
If someone got hurt, they themselves were to be blamed. After all, it’s only on a bandh day that the indolent trade union guys get to do something and expend their overstocked energy. Our part is to keep out of their way, duty or no duty.
But this time, like I said before, the strikers made an improvement on the usual meal. The CITU stormed into the hitherto protected areas- the IT sector and the SEZs. The CI of Police, Kazhakootam issued a written warning to the Technopark officials the day before. “Shutters down please”, it said. “We wont be around if something untoward happens”!! Kinfra was invaded by the striking trade unions. The result? Crores of rupees loss to the protected companies.
Kerala was just beginning to find the answer to the mammoth unemployment problem that had been beleaguering the state for decades. The huge number of students coming out of the engineering and management schools were being absorbed by these IT companies.
This 82nd hartal, I guess, spells the doom of IT industry in Kerala. And the present government is trying to woo foreign investors, and set up a Silicon Valley in Kerala!! What a joke!!
The foreign investors who are already here, should get the hell out of this state. There are places in India other than this strip of land where IT parks can be set up and run without any hassles.
Let Kerala go to the devil its own way.