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Thiruvananthapuram- A CPI-M worker was killed during a scuffle with suspected Muslim League workers Thursday as Kerala observed a shutdown on a call of the Marxist party to protest the arrest of its leader in a murder case.
Manoj Kumar, 24, an office-bearer of the youth organisation of the Communist Party of India-Marxist, was kicked to death by Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) workers in Kasargode district, CPI-M's Lok Sabha member P. Karunakaran said.
"Our party had organised a peaceful march in Kasargode to protest the arrest of party's Kannur district secretary P. Jayarajan.
After the march ended, one of our party leaders was attacked by IUML activists and Kumar went to save him. He was badly beaten up, leading to his death," Karunakaran told reporters.
P. Jayarajan, a former legislator, was held Wednesday for his alleged involvement in the murder of IUML worker Abdul Shukoor in February.
Across the state, CPI-M workers stopped private vehicles and put up road blocks. They also attacked Congress and IUML offices.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, after a cabinet meeting, told reporters here that action would be taken against those who have violated the law in the name of the shutdown.
"Everyone has the right to protest but no one has the right to infringe upon others' freedom. The police have been asked to register a case in each and every incident and proceed according to the law," Chandy said.
"We have received numerous complaints from a cross section of the society on the violence unleashed in the name of shutdown," he said.
Across Kerala, state-owned as well as private buses were off the road. Most of the offices and shops also remained shut while two units of the central paramilitary forces took over the vantage points in Kannur.
Jayarajan has been remanded in judicial custody for 14 days in the Kannur jail.
Soon after his arrest, CPI-M workers went berserk in Kannur and more than 20 offices of the IUML and the Congress in Kannur were attacked.
The government called in central paramilitary forces and in the early hours of Thursday, two units arrived from Coimbatore.
"Today, the central forces will conduct flag marches in and around Kannur and help local police maintain law and order," said an official.
However, the Technopark IT campus here and the Infopark campus in Kochi were working.
"We reached offices early and a police convoy escorted the company vehicles," said M. Vasudevan, a Technopark official.
But attendances in state and central government offices was low.