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India stays indoors on Bharat bandh

Last updated on: July 5, 2010 18:51 IST

India stays indoors on Bharat bandh

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Normal life was hit in National Democratic Alliance and Left-ruled states on Monday as rail, air and bus services were disrupted during a bandh called against fuel price hike. Stray incidents of violence occurred in Maharashtra and Karnataka where Bharatiya Janata Party workers pelted stones at buses.


Image: BJP activists shout slogans during a strike against the hike in fuel prices in New Delhi
Photographs: Mukesh Gupta/Reuters
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Senior BJP leaders Arun Jaitley and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi were arrested in Lucknow while trying to lead a procession towards the main Hazratganj crossing. BJP workers claimed that a number of party activists and leaders were injured when police baton-charged the protestors.


Image: Deserted roads in Bengaluru
Photographs: KPN Photo
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In NDA-ruled Bihar, Punjab and Karnataka, life was thrown out of gear with agitators stopping trains and buses. Schools, colleges and business establishments remained closed as groups of protestors took to the streets, trying to enforce the 12-hour bandh. In West Bengal and Kerala, air, rail and road services were disrupted.


Image: The deserted Kolkata airport
Photographs: Rupak de Chowdhuri/Reuters
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Only Air India flights operated out of the National Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata and streets wore a deserted look in the eastern metropolis, where Centre of Indian Trade Unions gave the strike call. In Maharashtra, police cracked down on trouble makers and detained nearly 10,000 people, official sources said.


Image: Telugu Desam Party supremo N Chandra Babu Naidu was arrested in Hyderabad
Photographs: Snapsindia
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Considering the low passenger load in view of the bandh, domestic airlines have cancelled 45 departures and 39 arrivals at the domestic airport in Mumbai. While taxis and auto-rickshaws remained off the road in the country's financial capital, municipal buses and local trains were plying with very few passengers during the usually crowded morning hours. At suburban Mulund railway station, BJP workers led by former Member of Parliament Kirit Somaiya were detained while staging 'rail roko'.


Image: Some children make the most of the bandh
Photographs: KPN Photo
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In suburban Borivali, Mumbai unit's BJP president and Member of Legislative Assembly Gopal Shetty was detained with supporters during a similar protest. Incidents of stone-pelting on buses and trains were reported from Pune and some parts of Mumbai including Vikhroli, Borivali and Kandivali. However, no one was injured.


Image: Police try to foil a demonstration during the bandh
Photographs: Snapsindia
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In Delhi, the bandh evoked a lukewarm response though BJP workers blocked road, rail and Metro services in some areas. Buses, autos and private vehicles were on the streets from the morning while offices recorded more than average attendance.


Image: Opposition parties protest in Mumbai
Photographs: Satish Bodas
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Besides the BJP, those participating in the bandh are Shiv Sena, Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal - United, Communist Party of India - Marxist, Communist Party of India, Forward Block, Revolutionary Socialist Party, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Telugu Desam Party, Biju Janata Dal, Janata Dal - Secular, Asson Gano Parishad, Akali Dal and Indian National Lok Dal to protest against the increase in fuel prices.


Image: Hundreds of police personnel deployed in Mumbai
Photographs: Satish Bodas
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Jaitely claimed in Lucknow, "The bandh is an unprecedented success. We are getting messages in this regard from all across the country. This protest has been widely supported by the average common man because he is really the target of the United Progressive Alliance government's policies".

The BJP leader said the protests against the policies of the Centre will be reflected in the Parliament.


Image: JD-U activists protest in Delhi
Photographs: Anisha Ralhan
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In Bihar, train and road services came to a virtual halt and shops and business establishment downed their shutters. Several long distance and passenger trains, including the New Delhi-Muzaffarpur Sampark Kranti Express were detained at different stations in Bihar following the agitation, East Central Railway Chief Public Relations Officer Dilip Kumar said. Bandh supporters cut hose pipes of some trains and squatted and demonstrated on the railway tracks to enforce the bandh.


Image: SP workers burn an effigy of the PM
Photographs: Anisha Ralhan
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The Rajgir-Danapur passenger train was detained at Karahdhi, the Hatia-Patna Express at Jehanabad, the 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.


Image: The deserted Andheri station in Mumbai
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani
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Reports reaching the state headquarters from Muzaffarpur, Gaya, Biharsharif, Bhagalpur, Begusarai, Motihari, Bettia, Siwan, Gopalganj, Chapra, Darbhanga, Saharsa, Khagaria and Katihar said the bandh evoked a good response.

Image: The deserted Colaba causeway in Mumbai
Photographs: Vaihayasi Pande Daniel
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Stray incidents of stone pelting were reported in Karnataka where BJP activists stopped the Mysore-Bengaluru passenger train briefly and shouted slogans against the UPA government at the Centre.

Image: A deserted station in Mumbai
Photographs: Sanjay Sawant
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In Kerala, shops remained closed and buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws kept off the roads throughout the state, seriously affecting the mobility of people.

Image: Most buses remained off the streets
Photographs: Sanjay Sawant
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No violence was reported from anywhere. In Andhra Pradesh, bus services were badly hit as workers of various opposition parties staged demonstrations in front of some bus depots in Khammam, Nalgonda, Ranga Reddy and Kadapa districts. In Rajahmundhry, services of over 700 buses in nine depots were cancelled after protestors stopped buses and organised agitations, said an official.

Image: Paramilitary troops were deployed in Mumbai
Photographs: Sanjay Sawant
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Bandh supporters in Orissa picketed various central government and PSU offices to prevent employees from reporting for duty. Vehicular movement on roads was virtually paralysed throughout the state as buses, trucks and other vehicles stopped plying, leaving a large number of passengers stranded, police sources said.

Image: Deserted streets in Kolkata
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty
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The bandh evoked near total response in Punjab and a partial response in Haryana. Reports from Ludhiana, Phagwara and Jalandhar said that shops, commercial establishments and schools were closed in the wake of the bandh call.

Image: It was a quiet day at Mangalore too
Photographs: Dayanand Kukkaje
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In Congress-ruled Haryana, where opposition parties including INLD, CPI-M, CPI are supporting the bandh, the strike evoked a mixed response. In Gujarat, stone-pelting incidents were reported in Surat while the bandh remained largely peaceful in the BJP-ruled state.

The bandh evoked a lukewarm response in Tamil Nadu where public transport, educational institutions, the banking sector and other business establishments functioned normally.


Image: Taxis also stayed off the roads in Kolkata
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty
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