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Shutdown Call disrupts normal life across the country

Monday, July 05, 2010 10:22:16 AM, PTI

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New Delhi/Mumbai/Chennai/

Thiruvananthapuram/Patna: The 12-hour "`Bharat Bandh" called by the National Democratic Alliance and the Left Parties have cripped normal life in many parts of the country, even as the bandh evoked a lukewarm response in Tamil Nadu today.

BJP activists today blocked traffic, Metro and suburban rail services in some parts of the capital as part of the Bharat Bandh called by opposition parties to protest against fuel price hike.

BJP workers blocked traffic at Laxmi Nagar, ITO, Preet Vihar, Akshardham and Madhuban Chowk among other areas at around 9 am.

Some BJP workers also stopped a Metro train at Karol Bagh station, a party leader said. Trains were also stopped by protestors at Nangloi, Shakur Basti and Badli railway stations.

In Preet Vihar, some BJP activists got into a scuffle with police during the protest.

“We were trying to remove the blockades. The bandh supporters in that area wanted all of them to be arrested and they entered into a scuffle with us,” a senior police official said.

Bandh supporters took out protest march in several parts of the capital.

A senior police official said Delhi Police has taken adequate security measures to ensure law and order during the protest. “Policemen are on streets to ensure that no untoward incident takes place,” the official said.

Airport officials said flight operations were not affected by the bandh.

'Disturbance in Maharashtra'
Senior BJP leader Kirit Somaiya along with many party workers was detained here today when they were staging a rail blockade even as bandh supporters indulged in stone pelting at several places and damaged 12 buses in Pune to enforce the nationwide strike called by the opposition NDA and Left parties to protest fuel price hike.

The BJP workers were detained at Mulund station here when they were staging the rail roko.

Minor incidents of stone pelting on local trains were reported from suburban Borivali and Kandivali in response to the bandh.

In Pune, 12 city buses were damaged by activists trying to enforce the bandh. The buses plying in Kothrud and Pimpri area were stopped and stoned, damaging window panes, a spokesman of the Pune municipal corporation said.

In view of the bandh, very few people ventured out in the early hours and several educational institutions in Mumbai were closed. Authorities have deployed about 40,000 police personnel on the streets of Mumbai to avert any incidence of violence.

Opposition parties, which have called for the bandh, have described the hike in petroleum products as “unjustified” and demanded a rollback.

Samajwadi Party, Shiv Sena, MNS and other smaller non-Congress-NCP parties in Maharashtra are supporting the bandh called by the NDA and Left parties.

BJP State unit president Sudhir Mungattiwar will lead the protests in Mumbai while Leader of opposition in the legislative assembly Eknath Khadse will be in Pune. Leader of opposition in the Legislative council Pandurang Phundkar will take part in the protests at Aurangabad.

The state government has said that adequate security personnel have been stationed at railway stations, bus stops airports and important roads.

“I appeal people to come out. We have taken all security measures to ensure no untoward incident takes place. Anyone who takes law into their hands and attempts to paralyse the city shall be dealt with strictly,” warned Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjeev Dayal.

In Mumbai, additional BEST buses will be plying on the roads while elsewhere in the state, Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) buses will be pressed into service.

The government has said that additional bus services will be pressed into service from airports and important railway stations for the benefit of passengers who arrive in the city from long distant trains.

As the suburban trains are likely to be targeted by protestors supporting bandh, adequate number of railway policemen would be deployed at stations for smooth functioning of railway service, police said.

“We have asked our staff to be on high alert,” said a Western Railways spokesperson, adding that “motormen will also be guarded by security men as the protestors may target them to derail train services.”

Essential services like water, milk, electricity and hospitals have been excluded from the bandh.

'Tamil Nadu cool'
The nation-wide bandh called by the Opposition NDA and the Left against the fuel price hike evoked a lukewarm response in Tamil Nadu today.

Public transport, educational institutions, the banking sector and other business establishments functioned normally as the bandh, supported by the state’s main opposition party AIADMK and its allies, did not affect normal life, police said.

Rail services were not affected till 0900 hours. “All trains coming to the city were on time,” railway sources said.

However, four Kolkata—bound flights were cancelled following the strike in Left—ruled West Bengal, airport sources said, adding flights to other cities remained unaffected.

Security has been stepped up at important places like railway stations, power units, high court premises and telephone exchanges, police said.

The state government has warned of stringent action against those indulging in violence and damaging public property.

District authorities said they have taken steps for smooth supply of commodities and maintenance of essential services. Only a few shops were seen closed as traders’ bodies have not supported the bandh. A section of autorickshaws, owing allegiance to some Left unions, kept off the roads.

'Kerala jammed'
Normal life was disrupted in Kerala today due to the nation—wide strike called by the NDA and Left parties to protest hike in fuel prices. This is the second shut—down being observed by the state over the same issue in a span of 10 days.

Shops remained closed and buses, taxis and autorickshaws kept off the roads throughout the state, seriously affecting the mobility of people.

Police said no violence was reported from anywhere. The ruling LDF had observed a day-long hartal on June 26 against increase in prices of petrol, diesel, kerosene and LPG

'Train services in Bihar affected'
Train and road services were severely hit as the nation—wide strike called by the NDA to protest the fuel price hike began in Bihar today.

Several long distance and passenger trains were detained at different stations in Bihar following the agitation, East Central Railway (ECR) Chief Public Relations Officer, Dilip Kumar said.

The Rajgir—Danapur passenger train was detained at Karahdhi, Hatia—Patna express at Jehanabad, Gaya—Patna passenger train at Islampur besides over 10 mail express trains were detained at Sasaram, Vikarmganj, Dholi, Narahan, Motihari, Sitamarhi and Jainagar railway stations in Bihar by the agitators, Kumar said.

Private operators suspended their bus services for the day because of the bandh.

All private schools, colleges and other educational institutions were closed. Shops and major business establishments downed their shutters in most of the markets in Patna, Muzaffarpur, Gaya, Bhagalpur, Begusarai, Chapra and Gopalganj.




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