Students protest bus fare hike in Kerala

Students protest bus fare hike in Kerala
Thiruvananthapuram: An hour after the Kerala government on Wednesday decided to hike bus fares, angry students belonging to the Left parties and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) took to the streets in Thiruvananthapuram and went on a rampage.

After the weekly cabinet meeting, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told reporters that the government had decided to accept the Justice Ramachandran Commission report recommending a hike in bus fares for the public and students.

"The minimum fare will go up from Rs 5 to Rs 6. For students, the minimum fare will go up by 50 paise to Rs 1. The cabinet, however, did not accept the recommendation that the students' fare should be 25 per cent of the full fare," said Mr Chandy.

An hour later, student groups of the CPI, ABVP, and activists of the Students Federation of India (SFI), the students wing of the CPI-M, marched to the state secretariat shouting anti-government slogans. In the melee, five students were injured when they clashed with police.

SFI activists turned hostile and attacked the policemen with stones and sticks. Police retaliated by cane-charging them and used tear gas shells and water cannons to disperse them. Several students were arrested.

At Kozhikode, SFI activists blockaded traffic on the main road for close to an hour.

The state government had told private bus owners soon after the latest hike in petroleum products that they would consider hiking bus fares.