Bharat Bandh: Unions claim 20 crore workers take part

Jan Adhikar Party activists climb on a police vehicle during the Bharat Bandh called over fuel price hike in Patna on Monday. PTI

The two-day national strike that began on Tuesday evoked mixed response across the country even as stray incidents of violence were reported from West Bengal.

Public bus services were hit in Mumbai banking operations were hit partially in the two-day strike called by ten central trade unions to protest against "anti-people policies" of the Narendra Modi government.

Trade unions claimed around 20-crore workers, from both public and private, including in multinational companies, participated in the strike across the country.

In Kerala, schools and colleges were shut and banking services affected while
offices recorded low attendance.

The strike in Karnataka evoked mixed response while other states saw business as usual.

Mumbai witnessed around 32,000 employees of the city's civic transport undertaking went on an indefinite strike to demand higher wages.

The banking sector saw two leading bank unions joining the protest though the SBI and and private sector banks claimed there was no impact on their operations.

Seven bank unions were not part of the strike.

Reports suggested that public services like electricity supply and train services were unaffected though several trains were running late.

The strike also disrupted rail and road traffic in Odisha. Train services were hit as trade union activists staged rail roko at places like Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Puri, Balasore, Jaleswar, Bhadrak, Sambalpur, Berhampur, and Paradip.

Over a dozen trains were delayed due to blockade of railway tracks by strike supporters, leaving a large number of passengers stranded at many places, reports said.

In various places, workers staged protest marches and burnt effigies of Modi and burnt tyres on streets in some parts of the state including Kolkata.

The 10 trade unions that gave the strike call include INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF and UTUC. The RSS affiliate Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) is not participating in the strike and said the workers have rejected the bandh-call.

"Bandh like situation prevailed in several states including Kerala, Assam, Odisha, several districts of Karnataka and the north-eastern states. Road transport was seriously affected in most of the states including Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Bihar, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand etc. In Madhya Pradesh road transport was seriously affected in 22 districts. Interstate buses could not run in Jammu and Kashmir due to the strike," a CITU statement said.

It also claimed the strike was "highly visible" in the industrial areas of Delhi, 24 Paraganas, Hooghly and Howrah districts of West Bengal, oil refineries across Assam, in Pune, Nashik and Aurangabad industrial areas in Maharashtra and in industrial areas in Bengaluru, Mysore in Karnataka among others.

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