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Bandh paralyses Bengal, 166 people arrested

Last updated on: February 06, 2008 14:48 IST

The 24-hour bandh called by the Forward Bloc on Wednesday affected normal life in the state with rail and road transport disrupted even as police arrested 166 bandh supporters for putting up road blockades in many areas.

Meanwhile, the toll in Tuesday's police firing in Dinhata climbed to six with a member of the National Volunteer Force, Krishna Kanta Burman, succumbing to injuries.

The IGP (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia said 41 bandh supporters were arrested from different districts either for squatting on railway tracks or putting up road blockades at many important crossings in the districts disrupting road and rail traffic.

Many passengers were stranded at both Howrah and Sealdah stations because of disruption in railway services.

Altogether 125 bandh-supporters were arrested so far from different parts of the city, while road blockades were put up by them at Rajabazar, Shyambazar, S N Banerjee Road and Howrah Bridge, besides some other places.

The FB called the bandh to protest against the police firing on its supporters at Dinhata in Coochbehar district on Tuesday during demonstrations against the state government's policies.

Trinamool Congress, the main opposition party and Congress have supported the bandh while SUCI has extended 'moral' support to it.

This is for the first time since the Left Front came to power in 1977 that a bandh was called by a Front constituent against its own government.

State Home secretary P R Roy said although there were reports of stray incidents, there was no report of any major violence in the state.

At Uluberia in Howrah district, senior FB leader and the state's Cooperation Minister Robin Ghosh himself led the protesters squatting on the railway track.

Bandh supporters carrying the Forward Bloc flags put up obstructions to road traffic at various places in different districts, Kanojia said.

Airport sources said that early morning flights from the N S C Bose International Airport operated as per schedule.

Train services on both Sealdah and Howrah divisions were affected due to blockades on railway tracks.

Some trains on the Howrah main and chord lines have been cancelled after blockades at Kamarkundu, Baidyabati and some other places, railway sources said.

The bandh was complete in Coochbehar district where the firing took place.

A report from Burdwan district said a vehicle of the district Planning Board was set on fire by FB activists at Burdwan town.

FB activists clashed with the CPI(M) supporters at Curzon gate area of the town, police sources said.

Clashes between the supporters of the two Left Front partners were reported from Kulti and Sanctoria, the headquarters of Eastern Coalfields Limited.

A large number of trains bound for Howrah and Sealdah stations were stopped in a number railway stations in the district.

Meanwhile, the Burdwan District Journalists Association claimed that journalists and cameramen who went to cover the clash were heckled by CPI-M supporters.

Reports from Nadia said most of the schools and colleges in the district were closed.

District Magistrate Omkar Singh Meena told PTI that most private buses stayed off the road in the district but there was no report of any untoward incident.

Former Forward Bloc MLA Shiva Prasad Mallick was arrested from Kamarpukur in Hooghly district for putting up road blockade, police sources said.

A scuffle between the police and FB was reported from Suri, the headquarter town of Birbhum district.

The FB supporters roughed up CPI-M district leaders while they were entering the Zilla Parishad bhavan. They were dispersed by the police.

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