Bharat Bandh: Ten union centers taking part in the strike say they have called for protest against various government policies.
The first major protest in India since the conclusion of a crucial round of state polls, the strike in Bharat Bandh led to a partial disruption of banking and transport services on Monday as the two-day unrest began. The 48-hour protest entered the second day on Tuesday and the impact is expected to continue. The strike was called by a group of unions who have expressed concern over various government policies, calling them “anti-workers and anti-farmers”.
Here are ten highlights on the Bharat Bandh two-day strike entering day two: Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Kerala, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh among others. The first day of protests saw a response in several states where transport services and banking companies suffered a partial hit. In Kerala, the High Court has been forced to issue orders prohibiting government employees from refraining from work, calling it illegal. Most government offices were hit on the first day of Bharat Bandh Southern state woke up with empty streets and state KSRTC buses owned by KSRTC were broken down while taxis, auto rickshaws and private buses stayed off the roads across the state. Bengal has recorded demonstrations by left-wing agitators who blocked railway tracks and also protested in the streets. Mamata Banerjee’s government has been criticized by the left-wing government for not backing the strike call against the center after state government workers were told not to lose their offices.
Some government buses, according to police, were looted by strike supporters in North Bengal, particularly in Cooch Behar district. Mamata Banerjee, on a four-day tour in North Bengal, asked the police to drop FIRs. Commuters in Haryana, including students, bore the brunt of the strike on the first day as state buses ran off the road. Transport services were affected in Karnal, Panipat, Kurukshetra, Sirsa, Fatehabad, Rohtak, Ambala, Yamunanagar and Kaithal districts. More than 100 workers from the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) took part in a protest in Gurgaon near Delhi. The protest also found support from some lawmakers in parliament. Left-wing MPs from Rajya Sabha and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) staged a protest against the Gandhi statue when the Rajya Sabha was upgraded at midday due to disruption of opposition proceedings over rising food prices petroleum products and union protests, ANI news reports.
The strike was called by the joint forum of central trade unions after pension fund interest rates were cut, which drew widespread criticism. Other issues raised are rising fuel prices and the privatization of central public sector enterprises. 10 central unions, independent sectoral federations and workers’ associations are also part of the protest. The trade unions said workers from the mining regions of Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh also took part in the protest.