Trade union activists block a train in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday. ( PTI)
Ṭhe first day of the nationwide shutdown (Bharat Bandh), called by 10 trade unions in protest against alleged anti-people policies of the central government, saw a mixed response on Tuesday, with public bus services remained off the road in Mumbai, while there were stray incidences of violence reported from West Bengal. There was a partial impact on banking operations as well. Centre of Indian Trade Union (CITU) claimed around 20 crore workers from all sectors of the economy participated in the strike across the country. The strike would continue on January 9.
However, normal life was largely unaffected in most parts of the country barring Left-ruled Kerala where the stir turned into a 'hartal' with schools and colleges being shut and banking services being affected.
Here’s what happened on Day 1 of Bharat Bandh:
# West Bengal: In West Bengal, where the Trinamool Congress-led state government had made elaborate security arrangements, reported an incident of stone pelting at a school bus and sporadic incidents of vandalism at a few places. Government offices, IT sector, and port activities were normal, and so were attendance at tea gardens. Strike supporters burnt effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and burnt tyres on streets in some parts of the state including Kolkata. In Howrah, Siliguri, Bardhaman, Birbhum, North and South 24 Paraganas, clashes were reported between Trinamool Congress workers and strike supporters as TMC activists tried to stop them from forcibly imposing the strike. Protestors blocked railway tracks in some part of West Bengal, delaying some long-distance trains.
West Bengal: Members of the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) protest inside Maidan metro station in Kolkata in support of the two-day nationwide strike called by Central Trade Unions demanding minimum wages and social security schemes among others. pic.twitter.com/NkihQZRb0M— ANI (@ANI) January 8, 2019
West Bengal: Clash between TMC and CPM workers in Asansol during 48-hour nationwide strike called by Central Trade Unions demanding minimum wages, social security schemes & against privatisation of public and government sector. pic.twitter.com/5oM6TWxnx7— ANI (@ANI) January 8, 2019
# Mumbai: More than 32,000 employees of Mumbai's civic transport undertaking went on an indefinite strike to demand higher wages. The protest, which coincided with the two-day strike called by 10 trade unions, affected nearly 25 lakh daily commuters.
Mumbai: Bus services affected at the CSMT due to the indefinite strike by BEST(Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply&Transport) over demands of implementation of the merger of the BEST budget with principal budget of the BMC, employee service residences etc. pic.twitter.com/SXlTfiZDeB— ANI (@ANI) January 8, 2019
# Kerala: Trains were stopped in Kerala, while buses and autorickshaws were off the road, hitting normal life, according to reports from the state. Workers from various sectors have extended support to the two-day strike. Reports from Kerala said offices recorded low attendance but there was no untoward incident in the state.
#Kerala: 48-hour nationwide strike called by Central Trade Unions demanding minimum wages, social security schemes & against privatisation of public and government sector; Visuals from Kochi (pic1&2) and Trivandrum (pic 3) pic.twitter.com/cuKkicTzJW— ANI (@ANI) January 8, 2019
Karnataka: #Visuals from Hubballi of the 48-hour nationwide strike called by Trade Unions against Union government demanding minimum wages, social security schemes & against privatisation of public and government sector pic.twitter.com/E2iji4zNzv— ANI (@ANI) January 8, 2019
# Odisha: The strike also disrupted rail and road traffic in Odisha. Train services were hit as trade union activists staged rail roko at places like Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Puri, Balasore, Jaleswar, Bhadrak, Sambalpur, Berhampur, and Paradip. Over a dozen trains were delayed due to blockade of railway tracks by strike supporters, leaving a large number of passengers stranded at many places.
Odisha: Traffic movement affected on National Highway 16 due to protest by Central Trade Unions in Bhubaneswar. Their demands include minimum wages and social security among others., pic.twitter.com/chGKdZk3x3— ANI (@ANI) January 8, 2019
# Rajasthan: As many as 22 policemen were injured in Rajasthan following clashes at the manufacturing plant of a Japanese company as workers, who were supporting the stir, tried to enter its premises, the police said. Union leaders claimed that 50 workers injured in the police action against protesters.
Bank unions: According to bank unions, thousands of bank employees participated in the strike, impacting counter activities such as cash deposit and withdrawal as well as cheque clearances were impacted at many branches. Officers at many branches were seen handling some of the activities.
(With PTI inputs)