The dawn-to-dusk hartal called by the Communist Party of India-Marxist-led Left Democratic Front to step up pressure on the Centre for imposing a nation-wide ban on endosulfan pesticide hit normal life across Kerala on Friday.
Public modes of transport like buses, taxis and autorickshaws were off the roads, reports from across the state said. Pro-Left unions in the transport sector have supported the hartal.
Attendance was thin in government offices and universities and Kerala Public Service Commission postponed the examinations slated for the day. No untoward incident was reported from anywhere, police said.
Shops, hotels and business establishments remained closed in most parts of the state.
The shut-down did not affect the train services but people who arrived at major stations by long-distance trains faced hardships due to the absence of city buses, taxis and autos.
The protest coincided with the last day of the current round of meeting of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants in Geneva, where the question of global ban on endosulfan has figured prominently.
The Left parties want India to join the nations pressing for the global ban of the pesticide.
Kerala has been pressing for a nation-wide ban on the pesticide, whose use over the years left scores dead and caused chronic health problems to many others in parts of Kasargode district.
Though the Congress in Kerala supported the demand for ban on endosulfan, the party has dubbed the LDF's hartal call a "political move" to cast the UPA government in poor light.
Kerala Chief Minister and CPI-M veteran V S Achuthanandan had on Thursday written to his counterparts in other states seeking their support for the ban. The 87-year-old Marxist leader himself had led a day-long fast on the issue earlier this week.