The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Tension in Assam, state stands still

Nov. 26: Normal life was disrupted in Jharkhand following incidents of violence and road blockades across the state during a 12-hour bandh called by several tribal outfits in protest against the deaths and injury of adivasis in clashes in Assam.

All the major political parties, barring the Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), had supported the bandh.

According to police headquarters spokesman R.K. Mallick, around 1,468 persons, including 700 in Ranchi and 614 in Jamshedpur, were arrested for forcibly enforcing the bandh. The situation was mostly under control, barring a few skirmishes by bandh supporters, he added. All business establishments and schools remained closed and roads were empty. Long-distance buses and trucks kept off the roads while the protesters put up blockades on Grand Trunk Road in Giridih, police said.

The bandh, however, had little impact on railway and airline services, though passengers had a tough time reaching airports and railway stations. Loading and unloading work was suspended in several mine areas in Hazaribagh, Palamau, Gumla, East and West Singhbhum as trucks did not ply.

(Lawyers across the state also remained absent from courts to protest against the serial bomb blasts in Uttar Pradesh. The Jharkhand State Bar Council had given the “strike call”.)

In Ranchi, protesters had taken to the streets since early in the morning armed with traditional weapons and bricks. They threw burning tyres on the roads to obstruct vehicles and smashed windscreens of cars and damaged two-wheelers. Initial estimates say over 200 big and small vehicles were damaged across Ranchi.

Jamshedpur remained largely peaceful, but there were a few stray incidents. A group of bandh supporters set on fire one truck near Deoghar village along NH-33 in the evening.

East Singhbhum superintendent of police Naveen Kumar Singh said bandh supporters set on fire the trucks parked in front of a highway hotel. Bandh supporters owing allegiance to different political outfits hit the streets of the city from early morning, raising slogans and demanding dismissal of the Assam government.

Sporting party bands on their heads, activists of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, AJSU and Jharkhand Desom Party rallied on the roads in Bistupur, Sakchi, Golmuri, Burmamines and Telco area.

A clash between the bandh supporters and their rivals occurred at Dhatkidih in Bistupur in the morning when an Ajsu activist was injured after being assaulted by some residents of Dhatkidih.

The injured, Mota Gope, who sustained head injuries, was taken to MGM Medical College and Hospital.

At Burmamines’ Mills and Godown area, the bandh supporters confronted a group of JMM activists and forced them to leave the area.

The bandh was a complete success in Parsudih. The response was also positive in areas like Sonari, Kadma, Birsanagar, Sitaramdera, Mango and Jugsalai.

Despite heavy deployment of police and Rapid Action Force (RAF), the bandh supporters held meetings at Karandih in Parsudih and marched toward the city’s prime locations, including Bistupur and Sakchi, to enforce the bandh.

Adityapur was the worst affected. JMM supporters blocked the Tata Kandra road at several points and burnt tyres.

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