Hartal peaceful, but unseemly incidents at MCH

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KOTTAYAM, MAY 30,
The dawn-to-dusk hartal called by the Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF), Bharatiya Janata Party, and Dalit organisations in the district passed off peacefully on Tuesday, but the premises of the Government Medical College here witnessed the unedifying spectacle of Communist Party of India (Marxist) activists vying with workers of the UDF and Dalit organisations to prevent them from staking claim to the body of Kevin P. Joseph as it was brought out after postmortem examination.
With the police refusing to allow anyone into the mortuary area, activists of various political parties and the e Dalit organisations gathered in strength outside the hospital premises. With the two sides in a combative mood, there was some pushing and jostling and the police had to resort to canecharge to disperse the restive crowd.
The body was released around 11.30 a.m. after postmortem examination and taken to Kevin’s home at Nattassery for burial at the Mount Carmel Church, accompanied by a massive crowd.
According to police sources, preliminary report of the postmortem suggested Kevin’s to be a case of death by drowning. Though the body bore 15 injuries, none could be the cause of death.
Confirmation on the cause of death can be arrived at only after the chemical examination results are out. Newly appointed Kottayam Superintendent of Police B. Harisankar told the media that cases had been registered against 14 people for abduction and murder.
The police had taken three persons into custody over the past 24 hours. With the surrender of Neenu’s father and brother, who is the prime accused in the case, the number of those arrested has gone up to five.
Meanwhile, the hartal hit normal life in the district with public carriages and private vehicles mostly staying off the road. Attendance at government offices was low. However, Mahatma Gandhi University conducted all examinations scheduled for the day.

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