| The deserted National Highway 2 in Rohtas district during the NDA’s all-India strike on Thursday. Picture by Sanjay Choudhary |
Patna, May 31: The nationwide strike called by the NDA today crippled regular activities across Bihar. Workers of Left parties, who were also scheduled to protest the petrol price hike separately, inadvertently helped enforce the bandh.
While most shops and business establishments remained closed, traffic movement was sparse during the 12-hour forced shutdown. Government offices and banks also had low attendance.
Additional director-general of police (law and order) S.K. Bhardwaj said no untoward incident was reported from any part of the state during the strike. But sources said more than 3,000 people were detained in various parts of the state.
Sporadic violence was reported from Muzaffarpur, where strike supporters clashed with security personnel. Strike supporters near Kudhani allegedly set a private bus and a motorbike on fire at Kudhani in the town. A car bomb was recovered from the railway tracks near Muzaffarpur-Motihari section.
A biker, identified as Manoj Kumar, was allegedly assaulted and his two-wheeler set aflame. A complaint was lodged at Kudhani police station.
NDA convener Sharad Yadav and BJP MP from Bhagalpur Shahnawaz Hussain were among prominent leaders who courted arrest in Saharsa and Bhagalpur, respectively. Chief minister Nitish Kumar, who is in Bhagalpur, said it was a “total bandh” in Bihar, as people extended their full support. Nitish said: “This is a clear message for the UPA government at the Centre, which hiked the petrol price ignoring the interest of the people.”
Yadav, along with his supporters, took out a procession in Saharsa to enforce the strike. He demanded immediate resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as his government has failed to control spiralling prices of petroleum products and essential commodities.
Railway services were also hit in different parts of the state. Important trains such as the Durg Express, Sampoorna Kranti Express, Palamu Express, Janshatabdi Express, Vikramshila Express and Patna-Gaya passenger train were stopped at different places by bandh supporters. The public relations officer of East Central Railway U.K. Jha said the movement of trains at different sections remained affected during the shutdown.
Activists of the CPI also took out processions in different parts of the state.