Evidence emerges of systematic ethnic profiling and targeting of Hindus during Kerala’s ‘hartal’, reports

Several groups in Kerala have called for ‘hartal’ or ‘protest’ against the Kathua rape and murder case. On Monday, shops were shut down and several instances of violence and abuse were reported in the state. According to reports, videos and social media posts emerging from the state suggest that during the hartal, ethnic profiling was carried out and many Hindu shops and outlets have been systematically targeted.

The Times Now news report states that abusive and violent people have targeted and threatened shops that are owned by Hindus in several places. A Vishnu temple in Puzhavathu was vandalised and its boundary wall was broken during the hartal. There are videos showing people moving in large groups identifying Hindu shops and hurling abuses. According to reports, violent mobs mobilised by radical groups stopped vehicles and asked names of passengers and vandalised temples, RSS shakhas and shops. Though the state police had beefed up security measure, in many instances they failed to stop the vandalisation and harassment meted out to the public.

The districts of Kasargode, Kannur, Malappuram and Kozhikode were particularly affected while instances of violence were reported from Thiruvananthapuram too. Stones were hurled at shops and several public transport buses were damaged. Hindu temples were damaged and vandalised during the hartal too.

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Malappuram SP DK Behera has told to Times Now that the violence was not impromptu or ‘flash’. It was an organised violence through social media. Though he stated that situation is under control and he cannot state which political outfits were behind the mobilisation, there are reports suggesting that the hartal call was given by SDPI and PFI.

According to reports, the call for hartal was a hoax issued through radical social media groups. Several people were injured and lathi charge was done by the police in some places.

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