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#WorkersStrikeBack: All India Strike Hits Bihar, Workers Flood Streets

The historic strike received widespread response across Bihar with road blockades and protests by bank employees, ASHA, Mid-day and Anganwadi workers, construction workers and labourers, etc.
Anganwadi workers

File Photo : Thousands of Scheme Workers Protest in Bihar

Daily life was affected in Bihar on Tuesday, January 8, as thousands of workers of the government and private sector joined the nationwide strike called for by 10 central trade unions protesting the central government’s policies.

Workers of trade unions belonging to the Left parties took out a protest march, blocked roads and at some places staged dharna to express their opposition to the anti-labour policies of the central government.

Road traffic in state capital Patna and other district headquarters including Bhagalpur, Munger, Begusarai, Gaya, Nalanda, Buxar, Rohtas, Ara, Madhubani, Aurangabad, Darbhanga, Banka, Saharsa, Supaul, Jehanabad and Arwal, across Bihar was badly hit by the strike of the trade unions. "Road services are badly hit. Long route buses and trucks are not plying on roads," a police official said.

According to the police, the shutdown supporters blocked national and state highways at various places across the state. In Patna, the protesters blocked the National Highway 98 near Khoja Imli in Phulwarisarif that disrupted road traffic for hours as well as the state highway near Patna city.

Banking operations in Patna and other districts were totally affected as most of the banks remained closed and officials of different banks led by the trade unions staged protest in front of bank branches as well as regional and zonal offices.

“The strike evoked a near-total response in the central government offices, banks, LIC, telecom sector and other offices. As workers took to streets to protest, road services were disrupted by activists of various trade unions, associated with the Left parties,” Ganesh Shankar Singh, state general secretary of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) Bihar, said.

Thousands of sloganeering contractual workers including ASHA (Accredited Social Health Workers), Anganwadi, Mamta-HIMC, Mid-Day Meal workers led by CITU, All India Trade Union Congress and others have also joined the strike and staged protest by blocking roads in different parts of Patna, Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur, Purnea, Nalanda, Munger and several other districts, CPI(M) [Communist Party of India (Marxist)] state secretary Avadhesh Kumar said.

As the workers were protesting in Patna’s Dak bungalow, police lathicharged them. But they continued their dharna and sang folk songs that taunted the central government for price rise.

Unlike other states across India, in the backward state of Bihar which is devoid of big industries and manufacturing units, workers and labourers mainly from the unorganised sector like construction, agriculture and small manufacturing units are the major participants in the strike.

In view of the strike, the police had deployed additional forces at important places across the state. However, so far, no incident of violence has been reported.

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