The Kerala Government has convened an all-party meeting on March 14 to take up the growing issue of curtailing hartals.
The March 14 meeting is in the backdrop of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announcing in the Assembly recently that an all-party meeting would be called against the frequent hartals. A series of hartals, including flash ones, late in December called by the BJP-Sangh Parivar combine over the Sabarimala young women entry issue had led to widespread opposition to such a form of protest. Several organisations and the trade unions in the State had come out with a call to do away with hartals. Trade had even said they would do all to defeat such agitations and declared that 2019 should be hartal-free.
In the wake of widespread violence during the hartals in connection with the Sabarimala issue where a lot of public property were destroyed, Pinarayi had said his government was willing to discuss the matter with political parties.
In the wake of the 1997 ban on bandhs by Kerala High Court, hartals replaced them. On January 7, Kerala High Court banned calling of flash hartals and ruled at least a seven-day notice to declare a hartal.