Thiruvananthapuram, January 9: Normal life across Kerala was badly hit on Wednesday as the two-day nationwide trade strike entered its second day, but by evening more and more shops and establishments opened.
While by and large the two-day shutdown passed off peacefully, on Wednesday morning a group of protesters stormed into the cabin of a State Bank of India (SBI) manager here, located near Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's office, and vandalized it.
The incident took place when CPI-M state Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan came to the union office located opposite to the bank. Nationwide Strike Called by Central Trade Unions Hits Normal Life Across India.
"At around 10.15 a.m., some protesters stormed into my cabin and asked if I did not know that today was a protest day. I told them that although we are open, banking operations were not taking place. Then they threw the computer and other properties on my table," Manager Santosh Karunakaran told the media here.
The bank has lodged a complaint with the police, who have registered a case against 15 persons. On Wednesday, more shops and establishments opened their shutters on compared to Tuesday and by evening even petrol pumps were functional.
Barring the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-backed trade union BMS, all other unions supported the strike involving several demands including raising the minimum wages to Rs 18,000.
State-owned private buses and contract vehicles remained off the roads but pilgrims to the Sabarimala shrine were allowed to proceed from all places on a limited scale. More private vehicles plied across the state and by evening more and more public vehicles started to ply.
While banks were shut, attendances in state and central government offices marginally improved since Tuesday. But at the State Secretariat, attendance was below 10 per cent.
Like on Tuesday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his cabinet colleagues did not turn up at their offices. All university examinations slated for Wednesday have been postponed and educational institutions were closed.
Even though the tourism industry had sought exemption from shutdowns, popular tourist destination like Alappuzha and Wayanad were badly affected as travellers were unable to move from one place to another. There were also reports of rail and road blockades from several parts of the state.