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Woman dies in Koderma hold-up

Hazaribagh, May 31: A middle-aged woman commuter died in Koderma when her bus got stuck on Ranchi-Patna highway (NH-33) in the BJP blockade, while three Rajdhani trains were held up in Koderma and Giridih during the all-India 12-hour petrol hike bandh called today by the NDA.

The bandh completely paralysed normal life in Hazaribagh and neighbouring districts Giridih, Chatra, Koderma and Ramgarh. Stray incidents of violence were reported from Giridih, but Hazaribagh stayed peaceful.

In Koderma, Salma Khatoon (50) and daughter Sheikh Hasina (15), residents of Islampur in Bihar’s Nalanda district had boarded a bus to Ranchi for the older woman’s treatment.

In Tilaiya, the bus was stranded due to the jam called by BJP workers on the highway.

After sitting for two hours, at 11am, Salma, who had some abdominal problem, said she was feeling unwell. Though the bus driver called a rickshaw to ferry her to any nursing home, she died. Her daughter returned to Bihar with the body.

The Delhi-Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express, Delhi-Kolkata Rajdhani Express and Delhi-Sealdah Rajdhani Express were detained at different points in Koderma and Giridih districts for about three hours when supporters of BJP and CPI (ML-Liberation) squatted on rail tracks, the police said.

NDA supporters disrupted train services in Koderma while the CPI (ML-Liberation) activists separately held a chakka jam on the tracks at Jarandih in Koderma district, according to police sources.

Rail Police Force Commander (Dhanbad) Shashi Kumar said that a case had been booked under IPC 174 (not obeying a legal order) against the agitators.

Mineral transport was affected in several districts as trucks went off the roads.

In Giridih, BJP leaders damaged wares and pushcarts of roadside vendors in Padam Bazaar, spurring them to retaliate by pelting stones. Senior BJP leader Dileep Upadhyay was injured. Police resorted to a mild lathicharge to bring the situation under control.

Shops and business establishments were closed while supporters of BJP, JDU, JMM and Left parties separately held demonstrations and blocked road traffic on NH-75 and Grand Trunk Road. CPI (ML-Liberation) supporters also blocked the Grand Trunk Road in Giridih and squatted on rail tracks in Hazaribagh to disrupt vehicular and train traffic.

However, government offices remained open.

In Hazaribagh, workers of BJP, Janata Dal (United), CPI and CPM took to the streets to ensure the bandh. Markets, petrol bunkers, cinema halls kept shutters down while most vehicles stayed off roads.

“Last month, a Ranchi doctor had confirmed an appointment for my four-year-old daughter Gudiya Kumari, but the bandh had to fall on this day itself,” said frantic mother Geeta from Hurhuru area, who managed to hire a three-wheeler to go to Ranchi.

“Political parties called this bandh to force the Centre to decease petrol prices for the common man, but we have to bear the brunt,” Geeta told The Telegraph before leaving.