Kochi: The lingering crisis over shooting up of onion prices has taken a violent turn in the Kerala capital of Thiruvananthapuram, with five men ransacking a hotel after the waiter allegedly refused to serve slices of the staple for the third time.

According to the Vanchiyoor police under whose jurisdiction the hotel Vettukattil Homely Meals at Kaithamukku comes, the incident took place late on Wednesday when the waiter was serving dinner to five customers. When they asked for onion for the third time, the staffer said the hotel had run out its stock of onions, infuriating the patrons, all in the 30-35 age range.

The customers allegedly smashed the restaurant’s window panes and turned the tables upside down. In the melee, one employee was hurt and some of the stored food items were damaged. The five, believed to be drunk at the time, later fled the scene.

Police said they are yet to arrest anyone in the case. “Three of the culprits have been identified and two among them can be identified by their face. We are in the process of identifying the remaining two. A manhunt has been launched to arrest the five,” an officer attached to the Vanchiyoor police station said. He said that cases have been charged under Sections 321, 324 and 427 of IPC for violence and causing injury and damaging property, among others.

B Vijayakumar, the Thiruvananthapuram chapter secretary of the Kerala Hotel and Restaurant Association, the apex body of hotels and restaurant owners in the state, told Newsmeter that the organisation has launched a probe into the incident. “The Vettukattil Homely Meals is a newly established hotel and its owner has not joined our organisation so far. Yet we have decided to conduct a probe into the incident and will impress upon the authorities to take all measures to insulate hotels from vandals,” he said.

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