Markets in the state, except those in the Bhopal division, remained closed on Thursday in response to the bandh (closure) call given by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and other parties to protest foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail and the hike in prices of diesel and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Mini buses and other transport vehicles kept off the road and cinema halls, petrol pumps too were closed until late afternoon. State Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Prabhat Jha claimed people's response to the bandh call was spontaneous.
The districts in the Bhopal division- Bhopal, Rajgarh, Sehore and Vidisha were exempted from the bandh call given the visit of Bhutan Prime Minister Jigme Yeozer Thinley on Thursday and the government's preparations for the visit of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Life was normal in these districts but people will face the bandh's consequences on September 24 when it will be enforced here.
There was no report of violence from any part during the bandh except some sporadic cases of skirmish. According to a report, at Amarpatan in Satna district a group of persons, led by the brothers of a local MLA, bashed up a trader when he refused to comply with the bandh call. They later roughed up an electronic news channel's cameraperson, who shot the incident, and damaged his camera too. Since, the assailants were from the ruling BJP the police acknowledged the complaint but did not lodge an FIR in this regard.
In Rewa division, Narmadapuram, Indore, Ujjain, Gwalior, Sagar and Jabalpur divisions the BJP workers staged demonstrations, shouted slogans and at some places burnt the effigies of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too. In Gwalior city, daily commuters, using public transport to reach their offices, faced hardships because of the unavailability of the transport service. Only private vehicles and few auto-rickshaws here and there were seen plying on the roads. The police, who remained on their toes during the closure to ensure law and order, heaved a sigh of relief following a peaceful protest.