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Roads blocked, vehicles damaged

Ranchi, Nov. 30: Today’s state-wide bandh by Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch (JJM) in support of a domicile policy was marked by violence and vandalism in the state capital, mocking party boss Bandhu Tirkey’s tall promises of peaceful demonstrations.

Even though a majority of business establishments, educational establishments and offices across the city remained closed during the daylong shutdown, which was supported by Adivasi Moolvasi Students’ Association (AMSA) and 24 other organisations, bandh supporters hit the streets to ensure that no one dared to venture out.

Though civil court, bank and government offices were open, attendance was poor. The roads wore a deserted look as around 300 local buses and 6,000 auto-rickshaws stayed off.

Vehicles that came out had to bear the wrath of bandh enforcers, who smashed windscreens of around 50 cars, trucks, bikes and autos, triggering panic among the few commuters who refused to stay indoors. Scenes of disruptions and chaos were witnessed at places like Circular Road, Karam Toli Chowk, Kutchery Chowk, Dangra Toli Chowk, Albert Ekka Chowk and Booty More.

At Circular Road, a protester was spotted breaking the glass fitted outside a restaurant, while a group of around 100 chased some bike-borne tribal boys at Dangra Toli Chowk. “Despite being a local, how dare you defy the bandh? We shall teach you a lesson,” one of the men cried out as he went after the boys.

Near Adivasi Hostel, some students had blocked the road, burning tyres and putting stones. Those who attempted to bypass the blockade were manhandled.

Ranchi SSP Bhimsen Tuti promised action. “I am trying to collect video footage for taking action against those who resorted to vandalism during the bandh,” he said.

Police arrested around 350 people and took them to a camp jail at Jaipal Singh Stadium. All were later released.

JJM president Bandhu Trikey, who was also present in the camp jail, later expressed concern over the vandalism. “We regret what happened. Our intention was not to damage common people’s property, but to send a strong message to the government to formulate a local policy,” he said.