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Bengal bandh hits normal life, 350 arrested

Last updated on: January 08, 2007 14:11 IST

Normal life was hit across West Bengal on Monday during the state-wide bandh called by opposition parties in protest against the violence in Nandigram, with 350 arrested for trying to enforce the shutdown.

Streets in Kolkata wore a deserted look as most private buses, mini buses and taxis remained off the roads.

Only some state-run buses and trams could be seen. Metro services, however, were normal.

Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia said that 350 people were arrested from various parts of the state for trying to enforce the bandh, but no major incident was reported till noon.

Senior Congress leader and former city mayor Subrata Mukherjee was arrested from the Gariahat area in south Kolkata while leading a procession in support of the bandh called by Trinamool Congress, Congress and some other parties.

Kanojia said that normal attendance was reported at the Kolkata and Haldia ports, the industrial belt and the IT hub at Salt Lake Sector-V.

Train services were affected in both the Eastern and the South Eastern Railway with bandh supporters squatting on the tracks, railway sources said.

Some long-distance trains arrived at and departed from the Howrah and Sealdah stations before the bandh began.

Meanwhile, a report from Siliguri in north Bengal said activists of Communist Party of India-Marxist and Socialist Unity Centre of India clashed at Gossanimari in Coochbehar district while police lathicharged bandh supporters in Malda district.

Eight persons were injured in a clash between the supporters of CPI-M and SUCI at Gossanimari under Dinhata
police station, Superintendent of Police Anil Kumar said.

Timely intervention of the police took the situation under control and defused tension, he added.

Malda Superintendent of Police D K Mandal said police lathicharged bandh supporters who restricted entry of officials, including the district magistrage at the entrance of the district collectorate.

A few persons including an electronic media photographer were injured in the lathicharge, he said.

The bandh supporters, however, claimed that Malda Zilla Parishad sabhadhipati Gautam Chakraborty and Trinamool Congress district president Dulal Sarkar were also injured in the lathicharge and were sent to Sadar hospital.

Both the SPs said bandh was near total in their respective districts with very few vehicles found on the road while shops, markets and business establishments remained closed.

Train services, however, was normal in both the districts.

The bandh also affected life in Jalpaiguri, North and South Dinajpur districts and also in the plains of Darjeeling district.

Tea gardens in Terrai, Dooars and Darjeeling hills were not affected, district authorities said.

The bandh had no impact in three hill subdivisions of Darjeeling district, SP Rajesh Subarna said.

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