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August 4, 2000
Bandh evokes mixed response across the country
Reports of demonstrations and general shutdowns came in from different parts of the country to protest against the spate of killings on Tuesday and Wednesday by militants in Jammu and Kashmir that claimed nearly 100 lives.
In Bombay, the country's financial capital, incidents of stone throwing and rail blockades threw the normal life out of gear during the peak hours on Friday morning following the 'Bharat bandh' call by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
Western Railway public relations officer Vinod Asthana said they were compelled to suspend rail services at several places because protesters had laid wooden sleepers on the tracks mainly in the northern suburbs. Stray incidents of stone throwing at the trains were reported but there were no injures, he added.
Minor incidents of stone throwing were also reported from other parts of the city. Though the tension prevailed, the situation was under control, police said.
Shops and markets were closed in many places, sources added.
In Guwahati shops and business establishments remained closed and private vehicles stayed off the roads in different parts of the state, official reports said.
All private city buses and long distance buses were off the roads. Attendance in government offices was thin. No untoward incident was reported from any part Assam so far, reports added.
In Uttar Pradesh, a report from the tourist resort of Dehra Dun said offices, courts, schools, colleges, banks and all business establishments in the Doon valley remained closed.
A ''chakka jam'' was enforced from morning on the main streets of the city. A silent procession was also taken out. Traders also supported the bandh and most shops remained closed. Rishikesh also observed a total bandh.
In Bihar, the bandh evoked little response in Bihar with majority of shops, banks and schools remaining open. A few VHP, Bajrang Dal and RSS activists took out a procession in the state capital Patna and raised anti-Pakistan slogans.
Even in Orissa, there was a lukewarm response. Normal life was not disrupted in the state capital Bhubaneshwar, where offices and educational institutions functioned normally while shops and business establishments remained open.
Volunteers of the VHP, RSS, Bajrang Dal and Hindu Jagran Manch, however, resorted to a road blockade on the National Highway five here for some time which was cleared by the police.
Police arrested 94 pro-bandh supporters in the city.
In Cuttack, the state's commercial hub, the VHP and Bajrang Dal activists tried to block traffic on the national highway following which 26 persons were arrested.
The response to the bandh was near-total in Vidarbha with some buses being stoned and a few ghotels being ransacked in Nagpur.
In Meghalaya there was no response to the bandh.
Police used batons to disperse VHP activists who tried to forcibly close down shops and offices and obstructed traffic in Malda in north Bengal.
In Nadia district, police dispersed VHP picketeers at Krishnagar rstation who held up the Bhagirathi Express this morning. The bandh, however, failed to evoke any response in other districts as well as in the capital, Calcutta. Curfew relaxed in two more areas in Surat
Meanwhile, curfew was relaxed in Athwa police station area on the outskirts of Katargam and Ved Road of the city from afternoon Friday, but it remained in force in Mahidharpura, Katargam and Chawk Bazar areas which had witnessed violent incidents claiming three lives Wednesday.
The situation in the textile city was peaceful and under control, police added.
The bandh evoked a mixed response in Madhya Pradesh with no untoward incident reported from anywhere in the state so far.
"The bandh has been totally peaceful so far and it has affected mainly shops," an official at the state police headquarters said.
Meanwhile, city police said a school bus was stopped while a state roadways bus was damaged by some miscreants.
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