PATNA: From train and road services to bank services, post offices, insurance companies’ offices as well as government offices were hit in Bihar on Wednesday, January 9, the second day of the nationwide strike called by 10 central trade unions protesting against the central government’s policies and Left parties’ call for a 'Bihar Bandh'.
The call for Bihar Bandh was supported by opposition parties Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM).
Left parties including Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI (M)], Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) [CPI(ML)], Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI), Forward Bloc and Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) had given this call, seeking attention to various issues including the deteriorating law and order situation in the state, farmers’ loan waiver, crimes against women and pension.
Thousands of supporters and workers of the Left parties with red flags and banners in their hands stopped over a dozen trains at Patna, Gaya, Jehanabad, Sheikhpura, Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur, and Ara railway stations.
The protesters also halted trains at Islampur railway station in Nalanda district, and blocked Patna-Gaya train route near Jehanabad."Several trains were halted to enforce the shutdown," a police officer said.
Roads were also blocked at various places across the state. Protesters blocked NH 107 in Khagaria district, NH 31 in Begusarai district and NH 57, NH 83 near Gelaganj in Gaya district, and NH 104 in Madhubani district.
The state highways were blocked in Nawada, Siwan, Aurangabad, Arwal districts, as the road transport associations and unions supported the strike.
In Patna, Left parties’ leaders and workers along with central trade unions’ leaders staged protests, took out march, and blocked roads at different places, including Dak Bungalow, Kargil Chowk, Income Tax Golumber.
RJD’s state president Ramchander Purve led a protest march along with hundreds of party workers in Patna. They shouted slogans in support of strike, and against the central government led by Narendra Modi, and state government led by Nitish Kumar.
HAM’s leaders and workers also took out protest march, and staged dharna in support of strike in Patna.
According to Ganesh Shankar Singh, state general secretary of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) Bihar, most of the banks, branches, post offices remained closed for the second day. The work in LIC, GIC and other central and state government were hit. “Hanging locks on the banks branches and protest staged by bank officials across the state on Wednesday, halted operations in banks,” he said.
CPI state secretary Satyanarayan Singh said strike was totally successful on second day also. 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.
CPI(M) state secretary Avadhesh Kumar said thousands of contractual workers including ASHA (Accredited Social Health Workers), Anganwadi, Mid-Day Meal cooks led by CITU, AITUC and others unions took to streets, and protested.
Unlike other states across India, in 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 were the major participants in the strike.