Tyres burn near Mango roundabout during the Ajsu bandh and (below) vehicles on the bridge wait for the blockade to clear on Sunday. Pictures by Bhola Prasad
Sunday’s bandh called by Ajsu to protest the murder of its senior leader Tileshwar Sahu, who was shot dead from point blank range at Barhi on Saturday, saw partial response in the steel city but a two-hour blockade on Mango bridge, gave commuters a tough time.
Shops and business establishments downed shutters in the afternoon when Ajsu supporters led by the party’s district president Babbar Khan tried to enforce the bandh in Mango, Sakchi and other areas, but opened in the evening.
Petrol pumps, which were closed during the day, opened in the evening.
School, colleges and other educational institutions were closed anyway on Sunday.
Ajsu supporters carrying party flags hit NH-33 at around 8am and tried to stop heavy vehicles like trucks and trailers. The agitators deflated tyres of heavy vehicles at different places on the highway.
Later, protesters moved to Dimna Road in Mango and picketed at several places on the artery before putting up a blockade on Mango bridge.
Movement of vehicles, including two-wheelers, was affected on the link that connects the steel city with the highway.
Ajsu supporters squatted on the road and raised slogans against the state government for its failure to ensure proper law and order and curb crime. They also deflated tyres of a few trucks on the bridge and took away keys of several vehicles. Keys were later returned to truckers.
Commuters, who got stuck on Mango bridge during the two-hour-long blockade, had a harrowing time.
“I had an appointment with a doctor at Bistupur. I was supposed to take my wife to his clinic, but thanks to the agitation, we got stuck on the bridge. Finally, we decided to return home. I will have to take a fresh appointment from the doctor,” said Akhilesh Tiwary, a resident of Dimna Road in Mango and a lawyer by profession.
Mango-based Moon City resident N.K. Ganguly echoed Tiwary.
“I had set out for Sakchi to attend a physiotherapy session. But, I could not make it due to the agitation. Even after waiting for about an hour, I could not cross Mango bridge,” he rued.
The movement of trains from Tatanagar station was, however, not hampered.
Station manager Awtar Singh confirmed Ajsu supporters did not turn up at the station. “All trains ran on time, ” he said, adding adequate forces had been deployed on station premises.
Sources from the police said nearly 250 Ajsu supporters were arrested from across the city in the course of the agitation.
They were taken to Sakchi police station and released in the evening.
City’s superintendent of police Karthik S. confirmed no untoward incident was reported.
“Adequate forces were deployed at strategic points all across the district,” added the senior officer.