| A girl on a two-wheeler drives by a burning tyre in Jamshedpur. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Oct. 28: Sporadic incidents of violence erupted in some parts as the bandh call by Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM) to protest against the rebel attack that killed 19 people, including Babulal Marandi’s son, on Friday, paralysed life.
In Jamshedpur, JVM supporters blocked the Tata Kandra road near Sarita cinema and burnt tyres. Later, they blocked the bridge, beat up several people and looted a small shop nearby. Vehicles were left stranded for almost an hour.
“We have never seen such a bandh. Not only are shops closed, but not a single vehicle can ply,” said Mohan Karmakar, a mason. Public transport was thrown out of gear. Rail and bus services were disrupted as supporters blocked tracks for two hours and all bus services were cancelled.
West Singhbhum and Seraikela-Kharsawan district remained peaceful.
In Dhanbad, police quelled a clash before any untoward incident occurred between JVM workers and villagers at Barwadda near Kisan Chowk, about 6km from the district headquarters.
Villagers attacked JVM workers as they had broken the windscreen of an autorickshaw. JVM workers closed shops and burned tyres near Randheer Verma Square, Katras Morh, Bata Morh and Suratand in Jharia.
Several passenger trains were stopped or delayed in Dhanbad rail division but the uninterrupted service of goods trains ensured that the Railways did not incur a loss. However, Bharat Coking Coal Limited incurred losses as the bandh froze coal loading at Katras and Jharia.
The bandh went off peacefully in Ranchi, Hazaribagh, Bokaro and Dumka as most people stayed indoors.
In Ranchi, JVM workers took out a procession from Ranchi University campus to Albert Ekka Chowk, led by the party’s city convener Rajeev Ranjan Mishra. Though the police arrested more than 100 JVM workers from for violating prohibitory orders, they expressed solidarity with the cause of the bandh. At Daltonganj, a rebel-dominated district, police arrested 24 people.
Supporters also stopped trains for some hours at Ranchi railway station claiming that except Ranchi-Patna Superfast, no other train could leave the station on time during the day. Divisional commercial manager of South Eastern Railway Vivek Srivasta, however, said “the movement of trains remained normal”.
In Ramgarh district, JVM workers hit the roads early morning, disturbing the movement of buses. Workers broke window panes of over six vegetable pick-up vans and trekkers. They blocked Ranchi-Patna Road at Subhash Chowk. Colliery areas were also affected by the bandh.
At Khunti, the birthplace of tribal icon Birsa Munda, JVM workers staged a dharna at Bhagat Singh Chowk. Police spokesperson Raj Kumar Mallick said the bandh remained peaceful.
In Dumka, shopkeepers were seen pulling down shutters on their own, in the absence of any JVM leader. Some leaders including Jamtara MLA Bishnu Prasad and others were arrested while putting up a blockade on the rail tracks.
A passenger, Sumitra Singh, travelling by a bus of the Bihar State Tourism Corporation in Hazaribagh, expressed her anger. Though sympathetic about the victims, she said: “Mara MCC ne aur saza aam logo ko bhugatna padta hai (Maoists killed villagers but common men get punished)”.
All passenger vehicles today remained off the road in Hazaribagh, Koderma, Ramgarh and Chhatra district and business establishments were closed. While residents here voiced the need for all political parties to unite and tackle the red menace, Congress MP from Dhanbad Chandrashekhar Dubey again demanded president’s rule in the state.
Senior JVM leader C.K. Thakur demanded the resignation of Koda branding him as a weak chief minister.
The bandh was peaceful in Bokaro.
Tisri circle inspector Bidu Bhusan Dewedi and the officer in charge of Deori police station, Virender Kumar were suspended today for alleged negligence of duty following the Chilkadih massacre.
Meanwhile, five companies of para-military forces are continuing raids against Maoists in Giridih and in Bihar’s Jamui district.