Calcutta, Feb 5 (PTI): The Centre of Indian Trade Unions, faced with criticism for calling a general strike on February 21 which coincides with the International Mother Tongue Day, said on Tuesday it would request the sponsors of the strike to convert the second day of the two-day shutdown into an industrial strike.
This would keep transport out of ambit of the strike, enabling people to celebrate the day, CITU state president Shyamal Chakraborty said.
There was no word about the fate of thousands of children slated to write their Indian School Certificate exams on the two days.
Chakraborty clarified that there would be no change in the scheduled general strike on February 20, on which the ISC environment education paper is scheduled.
The countrywide general strike has been called oppose financial sector reforms and the government’s decision to allow foreign direct investment in retail.
Apart from CITU, the labour arm of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the other sponsors are Indian National Trade Unions Congress (Intuc) of the Congress, the All India Trade Union Congress (Aituc) of the Communist Party of India, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Left-backed banking sector unions.
The International Mother Tongue Day is celebrated as Bhasa Divas all over West Bengal through various cultural programmes.
“We had received a letter from Bhasha Shahid Smarak Samiti regarding celebrations of February 21. They requested us to change the strike day from February 21 to some other day,” Chakraborty said.
Chakraborty also said that in view of the approaching by-elections at Nalhati in Birbhum district, English Bazar in Malda district and Rejinagar in Murshidabad district, all the three districts would be kept out of the strike's purview on February 21.
“We will also propose to exempt the three Assembly constituencies from the industrial strike on February 20,” Chakraborty said.