Police officers chase bandh supporters near Shaheed Chowk in Ranchi on Tuesday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
A Congress sponsored dawn-to-dusk bandh to protest against deteriorating law and order situation in the state evoked a mixed response in Ranchi on Tuesday.
Most schools and business establishments remained closed, affecting normal life in the city even as auto-rickshaws plied in limited numbers, causing inconvenience to commuters.
However, private vehicles, including two-wheelers and four-wheelers besides pedal rickshaws plied as usual. Government offices and banks also functioned normally.
No major incidents were reported during the bandh.
However, a few incidents of vandalism took place in the stretch between Shaheed Chowk and Albert Ekka Chowk, which fall under Kotwali police station area, where a section of bandh supporters hit the streets to enforce a shutdown around noon.
Civil court lawyer Arun Kumar Mishra’s car was damaged by a mob as he made his way to the court from his home near GEL Church complex.
The bandh supporters broke the windscreen of his vehicle near Shaheed Chowk. Mishra registered an FIR in this connection at Kotwali police station.
As Mishra is a civil court lawyer, the Ranchi District Bar Association expressed strong displeasure over the incident.
Association secretary Kundan Prakashan told The Telegraph that if lawyers were attacked by political workers in this manner, advocates in the state capital will not take up their cases and would not allow any advocate from outside to work for them.
Besides Mishra’s car, around 10 shops near Albert Ekka Chowk were also damaged by bandh supporters. Though the damage was not extensive, it was enough to spread panic among traders.
The bandh supporters would have perhaps caused more damage had the police not swung into action on time. “As the police arrived and gave chase, the bandh supporters fled. Some of them those fleeing also sustained minor injuries in the incident,” Praveer Ghosh, an eyewitness and resident of Tharpakhana, said.
Senior superintendent of police Saket Kumar Singh, said around 50 bandh supporters were arrested while resorting to violence, but were released later. He described the violence near Shaheed Chowk as a very minor incident.
The bandh was observed in the wake of a series of killings in the state capital. Sushil Kejriwal, a businessman, was shot by alleged extortionists on Saturday night. Soon after that, police recovered the body on one Sukra Kujur, a labourer from Kokar, in Pagla Baba Ashram on Sunday.
Congress state president and Rajya Sabha member Pradeep Balmuchu termed the bandh successful.
“People supported the bandh. Though four to five of our supporters sustained injuries when police used force on them, the bandh helped send out a strong message to the state government, which has failed to maintain law and order in the city,” he said.