Trains were stopped, buses and auto-rickshaws kept off roads as the 48-hour nationwide strike called by 10 central trade unions against "anti-labour policies" of the central government, hit normal life in Kerala on Tuesday.
Workers from various sectors have extended support to the two-day strike. Trains were stopped in Thiruvananthapuram, Tripunithura and Shoranur railway stations.
Venad Express, which runs from Thiruvananthapuram to Shoranur Junction daily, was delayed by more than one hour as agitators squatted on tracks, blocking its route, and raised slogans.
Other trains that were stopped in Thiruvananthapuram were Jan Shatabdi and Raptisagar Express.
All trade unions except the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh have supported the strike, which has come five days after a ''hartal'' was observed by right-wing groups in protest against the entry of two young women into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.
The Sabarimala pilgrims, tourists, social and religious functions have been exempted from today's strike.
To ensure Sabarimala pilgrims were not affected by the strike, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation has been operating buses from various destinations to Pamba, the foothills of the Sabarimala temple.
However, KSRTC buses were not plying on other routes.
Meanwhile, pilgrims at Nilackal said they have been waiting for hours to reach the hill shrine. Private-run buses are also keeping off roads.
Shops at many places in Thiruvananthapuram were open and the popular ''Mittayi Theruvu'' (sweet street) in Kozhikode was buzzing.
Union leaders had assured businesses they would not force closure of shops and target traders. The Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi has said it would open its commercial establishments.
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