Lalu, Paswan arrested during Bihar shutdown; train, road services hit
RJD chief Lalu Prasad and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan were arrested in Patna today while protesting on the streets during a day-long shutdown called in Bihar against the hike in fuel prices. Train and road services were badly hit in the state.patna Updated: Jul 10, 2010 19:31 IST
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan were arrested in Patna on Saturday while protesting on the streets during a day-long shutdown called in Bihar against the hike in fuel prices, police said. Train and road services were badly hit in the state.
Holding their party flags and shouting slogans, both protested along hundreds of their party workers at Dak Bungalow Square in the heart of Patna.
Paswan was arrested along with his party legislators and workers and taken to transit camp, a police official said.
Lalu Prasad, who had rushed to Patna from New Delhi on Saturday afternoon to join the protesters, was also taken into custody. Before he was taken away, he addressed the protesters and seerted he would continue protests against the hike in fuel prices from the street to parliament.
Police sources said that more than 5,000 workers and leaders of both parties were arrested across the state during the strike.
Train, road services hit
RJD and LJP activists stopped over a dozen long-distance trains at Patna, Gaya, Jehanabad, Hajipur, Bhagalpur and Darbhanga railway stations as part of their shutdown.
"Train services have been badly disrupted due to the shutdown since Saturday morning, leaving hundreds stranded at railway stations," an East Central Railway official said over telephone from Hajipur, the zonal headquarters.
Police said strike supporters blocked important roads including the national highway and state highway at various places.
The RJD and LJP did not join the all-India shutdown called by the rest of the opposition parties July 5 that virtually crippled the country.
In Patna, busy roads like Ashok Rajpath, Bailey Road, Patna-Danapur Road and Fraser Road were blocked.
"Road services were also hit. No long-route buses are plying. Highways are deserted. Trucks have halted at different places," a police officer said.
In Patna, shops and markets were also closed. So were most schools.
Former central minister and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, former central ministers and RJD leaders Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav and Kanti Singh statged protests in Patna.
In Patna, Gaya, Bhagalpur, Bettiah, Hajipur, Darbhanga, Jamui, Banka and Jehanabad, hundreds of women took to the streets.
They held placards, posters and banners and shouted slogans demanding the withdrawal of the fuel price hike.
The central government ended curbs on petroleum pricing and hiked the prices of diesel, kerosene and cooking gas last month.
The price of diesel went up by Rs.2 a litre, kerosene by Rs.3 a litre, petrol by Rs.3.50 a litre, and cooking gas by Rs.35 per cylinder.
(With IANS inputs)