A dawn-to-dusk general strike called by political and rights groups against the acquittal of a surrendered militant in the 1996 murder of a journalist brought life to a virtual standstill in Assam on Thursday.
Shops, schools, financial institutions and business establishments remained closed, while public and private transport kept off the roads.
Attendance in most government offices was thin.
The strike that began 5 a.m. was called by the rights group Manab Adhikar Sangram Samity (MASS) to protest the alleged casual role of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that led to acquittal of one of the main accused in the murder of journalist Parag Kumar Das in 1996.
A local court Tuesday acquitted Mridul Phukan, a surrendered militant, citing lack of evidence.
Rights groups reacted angrily saying the CBI's callous attitude in investigating the case helped Phukan go scot free.
"The 12-hour strike is called in protest against the way the CBI investigated the case. With many witnesses identifying the accused of killing Das in broad daylight, yet the CBI failed to establish the charges," MASS leader Lachit Bordoloi said.
Several political parties, students' groups and other social organisations supported the general strike.