Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Ramkripal Yadav were among hundreds of RJD-LJP activists who courted arrest in Patna on Saturday to enforce the Bihar bandh to protest the fuel price hike.
RJD and LJP activists moved in processions on Bailey Road and Ashok Raj Path in the state capital where they blocked the roads for several hours, official sources said. Over 600 RJD-LJP activists, including Paswan, J P Yadav, Kanti Singh, Rajniti Prasad, state RJD chief Abdul Bari Siddiqui, his LJP counterpart Pashupati Kumar Paras, besides former Union Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, courted arrest in Patna while enforcing the bandh.
Paswan and others were taken to a camp jail at Gardanibagh in Patna from where they will be released in the evening, the sources said. Earlier in the day, Paswan claimed that the bandh was a 'grand success'.
"The massive response to the call suggests dissatisfaction of the people over the central and state government's failure to check the prices," he said, urging the Centre to roll back the increased prices of petrol, cooking gas, kerosene and diesel Reports reaching the state headquarters said the bandh supporters burnt tyres and blocked railway tracks and highways at various places in the state.
The bandh evoked a good response in Aurangabad, Gaya, Ara, Masaurhi, Nawada, Barh, Jehanabad, Gopalganj, Chapra, Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga and Saharsa, the reports said. Most shops and business establishments remained closed as a precautionary measure. However, banks and other financial institutions were open.
Several trains were stranded at different places in Bihar because of the agitation. Among the trains running several hours behind their schedule are New Delhi-Rajendra Nagar Terminal Rajdhani Express, Samoorna Kranti Express, Ganga-Domadar from Dhanbad to Patna, Hatia-Patna Express, Janseva Express from Saharsa to New Delhi and several passenger trains and intercity expresses.
Long queues of trucks and other vehicles were waiting for clearance of roads on the national highway at Jarua, Ara, Aurangabad, Muzaffarpur and Sasaram as the protesters blocked the roads.
Shops and major business establishments remained closed. Most of the offices of the central and state governments wore a deserted look because of poor attendance, sources said.
The bandh has been called by the RJD-LJP combine to protest the hike in petroleum products. This is the second bandh in the state this week. Normal life was hit in the state on Monday due to the Bharat bandh called by the National Democratic Alliance and its Left parties.