The deserted Main Road overbridge in Ranchi and the closed Baazar Kolkata outlet in Jamshedpur during Friday’s bandh. Pictures by Prashant Mitra and Bhola Prasad
Aug. 1: Today’s Jharkhand bandh, sponsored by various pro-domicile organisations seeking a comprehensive policy for residents, paralysed capital Ranchi and evoked lukewarm response in Dhanbad and Jamshedpur.
To the relief of district administrations, the daylong shutdown — enforced by Adivasi Moolvasi Janadhikar Manch and backed by Jharkhand Disom Party, Kurmi Vikas Morcha and Muslim Youth Front among others — did not witness heavy violence. “We have been successful in sending a message to the government,” said Raju Mahto, the convener of the Manch.
In the capital, thoroughfares like Main Road, Harmu Road, Purulia Road and Hazaribagh Road wore deserted look while only a few business establishments like tea kiosks and medicine stores stayed open.
On the outskirts, the bandh was complete. Stationary trucks flanked NH-75, which links Ranchi with Garhwa via Daltonganj, and majority of highway shops had their shutters down.
One of the biggest casualties of the back-to-back bandhs — Thursday had seen another in protest against the Chanho clash — was milk. Joint secretary of state milk producers’ association Jaiprakash Jaiswal claimed over 7,000 litres of unprocessed milk from Mandar, Chanho, Lohardaga and other areas had been wasted
Urban areas of the coal district, including Dhanbad town and Jharia, witnessed negligible response. Rural pockets like Baghmara and Baseria were partially paralysed.
Government offices, shops, banks, schools and colleges remained open in the towns. Public transport was normal though some long-distance buses did not ply.
In Baghmara, 200-odd people staged a blockade under the banner of Jharkhand Moolvasi Sena, holding up traffic for over two hours from 7am
The steel city was lukewarm to the local cause. Educational institutions, banks and government offices remained open. Public transport stayed loyal to schedule. However, 50 per cent of 300-odd long-distance buses did not ply.
The largely peaceful bandh turned a tad violent when a Adivasi Moolvasi Sarvadaliya Morcha mob, led by former Ghatshila MLA Surya Singh Besra, burnt torched tyres in Sakchi and damaged glass panes at Baazar Kolkata.
Sakchi police reached the spot and took bandh protagonists under preventive custody. They were released in the evening on personal bond.