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Kerala DGP warns against traffic obstruction

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Press releases from the striking organisations have urged owners to keep their vehicles off roads. But they had not cared to explain why the general public was sought to being held to ransom, the court observed.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Oct 17

THE Director-General of Police (DGP) of the State has said that the police would sternly deal with any attempt by vehicle owners and staff unions to obstruct normal traffic on the pretext of implementing a traffic bandh in the State on Friday.

The 24-hour strike has been called by organised sections of vehicle owners and staff to protest the recent hike in vehicle third-party insurance premiums notified by the general insurance companies.

The DGP's assurance to the public comes a day after the Kerala High Court directed the State Government and the DGP to act to ensure that public life was not disturbed in any manner on a day when organised sections of vehicle owners and staff would seek to force a bandh on their unorganised/unwilling counterparts.

Delivering the order, Mr Justice M. Ramachandran of the High Court directed the State Government to see that no force was used to stop vehicles - commercial, private or public - from operating on the day.

"Abstinence should, if at all, be voluntary and not brought about by pressure tactics,'' the order added.

Press releases issued by the striking organisations have urged vehicle owners to keep their vehicles off roads. But they had not cared to explain why the general public was sought to being held to ransom, the court observed.

The orders were issued in response to a writ filed by Mr Joseph J. Kaitharam of Kochi.

Earlier, the Private Bus Workers Action Committee and the Kerala State Private Bus Operators Association had jointly called for the 24-hour strike from midnight on Thursday to protest the hike in insurance tariff which they said would add Rs 500 to the cost of operations on a daily basis.

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