Petro stir evokes mixed response
Ambulances, milk vans, fire brigades were exempt
Cities wore a deserted look and normal life remained paralysed in metros like Mumbai and Kolkata, as the 12-hour bandh called on Thursday by the NDA and Left parties evoked a mixed response in many parts of the country.
In Bihar, ruled by the NDA, vehicular traffic movement was hit for a few hours when activists from JD (U) and the BJP blocked roads at different places. Movement of trains was also affected as the protesters sat on dharna on the tracks in Patna, Gaya, Mokama, Begusarai, Bhagalpur, Gaya and Muzaffapur.
Barring a few sporadic violence, the bandh across Bihar was by and large peaceful.
While most schools have been closed for summer vacation, government and private offices registered thin attendance on Thursday. Ambulances, milk delivery vans and fire brigades were, however, exempted from the bandh.
In Mumbai, the bandh had driven vehicles off the road, while shutters of small and medium business establishments were down on Thursday. Trains, ports and public road transport grid remained frozen, turning the financial capital into a ghost town. The public transport BEST had partial service. The city police control room on Thursday evening said that over 40 BEST buses were stoned, and attempts to blockade rail tracks were thwarted in several places on Central Railway line. The dabbawallas stayed off from work, while auto unions having NCP leanings tried defying the bandh. Police said the bandh was by and large peaceful except minor incidents of stone throwing, arson and rioting.
In Kolkata, protestors damaged and set fire to buses, put up road blockades and disrupted train movement. However, state government offices had heavy attendance.
According to official sources, there was 91 per cent attendance in the State Secretariat but fewer private vehicles and taxis were seen on the roads.
The city police arrested 38 people including BJP state President Rahul Sinha for trying to disrupt traffic by putting up road blockades.
Though Sinha said the shutdown was a success, the chief minister, sensing conspiracy, accused the Communist Party of India-Marxist of joining hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party in indulging in vandalism to make the shutdown successful.
The day-long bandh affected normal life in Odisha.
All business establishments including banks, shops, petrol pumps hotels as well as educational institutions remained closed.