08/01/2020 11:18 AM IST | Updated 08/01/2020 3:44 PM IST

Bharat Bandh: Violence Across West Bengal, Mamata Calls It 'Gundagardi'

Reports say buses were burnt, crude bombs were lobbed at the police, after which CM Mamata Banerjee criticised the CPI(M) saying this was not a protest but 'dadagiri'.

Rupak De Chowdhuri / Reuters
Supporters of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) block a passenger train during an anti-government protest rally, organised as part of a nationwide strike by various trade unions in Kolkata, India, January 8, 2020. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri

Several part of West Bengal saw violence as 10 central trade unions called for a Bharat Bandh on Wednesday against the “anti-people” policies of the Narendra Modi government. 

PTI reported that buses, a police vehicle and government properties had been vandalised by strikers who tried to enforce the 24-hour bandh on Wednesday.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee criticised Left parties in the state calling the protests “gundagardi”. 

ANI quoted Banerjee as saying, “CPI(M) has no ideology. Planting bombs on railway tracks is ‘gundagardi’. In the name of movement, commuters are being beaten up and stones are being pelted. This is ‘dadagiri’, not a movement. I condemn this.”

PTI reported that protesters blocked a major road in the Sujapur area of Malda district, set ablaze tyres, ransacked government buses and torched several vehicles, including a police van.

Police officials claimed that they baton-charged the mob, lobbed teargas shells and fired rubber bullets at the protesters after they hurled stones and crude bombs at them.

In various parts of the state, railway tracks and roads were blocked, affecting normal life.

The protesters burnt tyres and blocked roads in various parts of the East Burdwan district, besides staging sit-in on railway tracks, affecting train services in the sector.

ANI had reported earlier in the day that there were block railway tracks in multiple areas against the “anti-worker” policies of the Narendra Modi government. 

Protest were also held in Chennai’s Mount Road. 

ANI also reported that crude bombs were recovered from railway tracks in West Bengal’s Hridaypur.  

In Mumbai, employees of the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited led a protest against Modi government’s decision to strategically disinvest in Bharat Petroleum.  

Central trade unions such as the INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF, UTUC along with various sectoral independent federations and associations called for a nationwide strike on Wednesday. 

“We are protesting against rising prices, sale of the public sector, 100% FDI in railways, defence, coal, pharma, animal husbandry, security services, and codification of 44 (central labour) laws,“Amarjeet Kaur, General Secretary, AITUC  told PTI.

Nearly 25 crore people are said to be taking part in this all-India strike.

The demands also include a minimum pension of Rs 6,000 for everyone, minimum support price for farmers, adequate supply of ration to people, she said, adding that the demands concern common man’s issues besides worker-centric issues.

In Delhi, she said, rains could not impact on the movement as workers’ processions will be taken out in industrial areas of the state; and as planned, workers will assemble at the ITO and take out procession.

“We are getting reports from all over India.? BHEL workers have gone on strike, oil unions are on strike. There is situation of bandh in states of north-east, Odisha, Pondicherry, Kerala and Maharashtra. Roadways depos are closed in Haryana,” she said.

(With PTI inputs)