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IN PIX: 'Bharat Bandh' evokes mixed responses

Last updated on: September 20, 2012 16:04 IST

IN PIX: 'Bharat Bandh' evokes mixed responses

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A bandh called by the National Democratic Alliance, Left parties and the Samajwadi Party to protest against diesel price hike, Foreign Direct Investment in multi-brand retail and cap on subsidised LPG on Thursday evoked mixed response as protestors disrupted road and rail traffic in parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Odisha but it had little impact in Mumbai.

In Delhi, most of the markets remained closed and vehicular movement was normal though protesters blocked traffic at some places.

Shops in some areas such as Bhogal, Laxmi Nagar, Defence Colony and South Extension in the capital were open in the morning hours but though big markets such as Khan Market, Connaught Place, Greater Kailash, Karol Bagh, Chandni Chowk and Kashmere Gate were shut.

Autorickshaws plied in the city and buses of state-run Delhi Transport Corporation were on the roads in large numbers. At New Delhi railway station, auto drivers staged protests and refused to carry passengers. However, most of the private schools in Delhi remained closed.

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Image: People walk past closed shops during a nationwide strike in the old quarters of Delhi
Photographs: Mansi Thapliyal/Reuters

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IN PIX: 'Bharat Bandh' evokes mixed responses

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BJP supporters blocked vehicular movement on Vikas Marg. A BJP spokesperson said the party will be staging protests at around 100 locations in the capital. A senior Delhi police official said a large number of personnel have been deployed. "We have ensured that every major road has police presence," he said.

Samajwadi Party and BJP workers staged demonstrations and stopped trains at a number of places in Uttar Pradesh. Protestors stopped trains in Mathura, Agra, Varanasi, Allahabad and Lucknow while BJP workers and traders blocked the Agra-Gwalior Highway by burning tyres.

Major markets remained closed at a number of places in UP, including in the state capital, official sources in Licknow. Raising slogans against FDI in retail, a group of SP workers held a demonstration outside the Walmart store at Sultanpur in Lucknow.

The party also protested outside Divisional Railway Manager's office in Hazratganj. The bandh evoked little response in Mumbai owing to Ganesh festivities across Maharashtra. Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena have kept away from the day-long bandh due to the festival.

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Image: Demonstrators from the Samajwadi Party shout slogans as they gather around an effigy on a railway track during a protest against price hikes in fuel and foreign direct investment near Allahabad railway station
Photographs: Jitendra Prakash/Reuters

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IN PIX: 'Bharat Bandh' evokes mixed responses

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Road and train services were also hit in several parts of Bihar. A group of BJP workers blocked rail traffic at Patna junction and stopped movement of a number of long distance express and passenger trains. Life in the Kolkata and elsewhere in West Bengal was disrupted due to the 12-hour bandh called by Left parties.

Though airport services were normal, train services in Eastern Railway and South Eastern Railway were disrupted, officials said. Howrah-Pune Duranto Express, which started from Howrah on time, was stopped by the squatters, railway sources said. Services of the Metro rail, Kolkata's lifeline, were normal, officials said.

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Image: A man stands in front of closed shops during a nationwide strike in Kolkata
Photographs: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

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Airport sources said the flight operations were normal in Kolkata airport, except cancellation of two Indigo flights -- Kolkata-New Delhi and Kolkata-Agartala, which were scheduled to fly in the morning.

Normal life was affected in Odisha, barring the western region, due to disruption in train and road traffic during the bandh called separately by BJP and Left parties to protest the recent decisions of the UPA government.

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Image: An empty tram in Kolkata
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty

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While state government offices, banks and insurance services remained closed on the occasion of 'Nuakhai', a major festival of western districts of the state, organisers of the dawn-to-dusk shut-down have kept the celebrations out of the purview of the protest.

In Karnataka, the bandh affected normal life as shops and offices chose to remain shut. Only essential commodities such as milk and medical services are available but all schools and colleges were closed. The secretariat in Bangalore wore a deserted look but the high court and lower courts were functioning.

In Congress-ruled Rajasthan, the bandh call got a mixed response. In Jaipur, major markets and business establishments remained closed and public transport was hit partially as many private buses and autorickshaws remained off road.

Normal life in Jharkhand was affected with the nationwide strike.  Slogan-shouting bandh supporters squatted on railway tracks in Koderma, Dhanbad and other places disrupting train services for over a couple of hours, railways sources said.

BJP activists also put up blockades on national highways, affecting vehicular traffic. In Shillong, BJP volunteers were detained for enforcing the shutdown.

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Image: A CRPF jawan stands guard at Fancy bazar in Guwahati


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BJP general secretary Dipayan Chakraborty along with 26 party volunteers were picked up by the police while forcing shopkeepers to down shutters and forcing public transport vehicles off the roads, East Khasi Hills deputy commissioner, Sanjay Goyal told PTI.

Banks, markets, shops and educational institutions were closed in Meghalaya, with government offices recording low attendance, reports said. Government transport vehicles and a few taxis were on the roads.


Image: Vehicles plying normally amid protests on Hyderabad roads
Photographs: SnapsIndia

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The nationwide bandh called by the BJP-led NDA and other opposition parties evoked no response in Kashmir valley where life is as usual, reports Rediff.com's Mukhtar Ahmad. All government offices, schools, banks remained opened. Public and private transport was plying as usual without any hindrance.

Supporters of the BJP held protests in Srinagar on Thursday morning.


Image: Vehicles ply normally on Srinagar roads
Photographs: Umar Ganie

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